Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Beet Primer, part 2: the nuts and beets of things

These recipes combine beets with nuts. I was planning to write some filler about how nuts and beets complement each other, but I don't really think they do. They're both earthy and almost dirty tasting. Sometimes there are more important things than balance!

Since the nuts will provide so much flavor, these are good recipes to use the easier but inferior method of beet cookery mentioned in my previous article, which I'll summarize:

If the beets are really dirty, rinse them a bit, but don't worry too much about it. Put them in a pan, tops cut off but otherwise whole and unpeeled, with a splash of water and a bit of salt. Cover and put in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour, depending on the size of the beets. Pierce them with knife to check if they're done. You can put them in the fridge for later or use them right away. When you're ready, peel the beets by holding them under running water and sloughing off the skin. Then chop to desired size.

Here are the recipes. I'm leaving them imprecise because measuring when you make these would be like weighing your lettuce when you make a salad.

Beets with Pecans
  • cooked beets in 1-inch cubes
  • pecans
  • olive oil
  • rice vinegar
  • salt, pepper

Toast the pecans in a dry cast iron pan over medium heat, giving them an occasional shake. When they've browned a bit, combine them with the beets, pour on some oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and toss. This is also good with a little bit of honey, especially if the beets aren't very sweet.

Beets with pistachios
  • beets
  • tahini sauce
  • pistachios

If you don't have any tahini sauce, make some. (I just mixed up some tahini paste with a clove of crushed garlic, some cumin, salt, tons of lemon juice, and some water to thin it.) Toast some (shelled!) pistachios, and combine with the beets and tahini dressing.

Arugula and Beet Salad with Pine Nuts
  • beets
  • arugula
  • pine nuts
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese

Toast the pine nuts. Shake up lemon juice and olive oil in a jar, pour it over the beets, pine nuts, and arugula, and toss along with Parmesan. This one is nice with warm beets, so that the arugula wilts a bit.

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