Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Eventually is Now, or, Making Friends with Beetroot

So J left tonight for a month away, so as is becoming customary, I spent part of my first evening batching it cooking something improbable, something I wasn't sure would be even remotely edible by me (I based it on a recipe I found, so clearly someone likes it!).

I was curious about all the buzz about beet greens, so I bought a bunch of beets today in order to get the greens, which are related to chard, which is my good buddy. So what to do with the beets themselves? Initially, I planned to make a variation on my "deconstructed pesto with greens" pasta dish, but then I started wondering--can I actually use the beets in a pasta dish too?

Mind ye, I am a very hard sell on the tastiness of beetroot. After being force-fed pickled beets as a kid, I was decidedly NOT a fan. But in Paris last summer, I was served a very palatable beet salad, and have been tentatively trying to reconsider my hatred ever since. So I can deal with beets in a juice blend now, but this was the first time I have actually enjoyed eating the things.

Here's what I did for one serving of what I'm going to call "Dracula Was There" Pasta (S, you'll appreciate that!). The original recipe is here:

1. I sauteed 1 small beet with 2 shallots, and added 3 cloves of garlic a few minutes after I'd started sauteeing.

2. I fecked in about a cup of vegetable stock and about a teaspoon of rice wine vinegar (the original recipe has lemon juice, but the sad little lemon I found in the basket had no business being in anything but the bin),

3. While all that (and my pasta) was going, I chopped about 2 handfuls of beet greens and some parsley and basil. I added that in after the stock had reduced to almost nothing, and let the greens wilt.

4. I stirred in the pasta--penne was not ideal (something non-tubular would have been much better)--and served it with parmesan cheese on top.

It was gorgeous, and didn't even really taste like the beets I knew and hated. Strangely, it was saltier than I'd expected (I didn't add any salt at all), and I'm wondering if my iron skillet is so saturated with soy sauce that I got a little residual flavor from that. Whatever it was, it worked.


pleasurefromthethorns said...

well good on ya! i also recently tried to befriend the dreaded beet with decidedly less luck. my childhood aversion endures and likely always will. glad you fared much better.

Anonymous said...

Boil the beets for an hour, chop em up, then toss em with tangerines, walnuts, blue cheese, and a sherry vinaigrette.

Or Greek style: boiled and drizzled lightly with olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Slice and serve over the raw greens.