Beets three ways: beetroot, beet leaves and stems
In keeping with the nose to tail concept that doesn’t apply in my vegetarian kitchen, I am trying to use the whole plant, end to end and not waste any edible parts. You’d be surprised how much we waste in the foods we eat, throwing away good leaves, stems and even roots of some good vegetables.
My company last weekend came bearing gifts from the garden, bringing beautiful beets with their greens still attached from a private garden in southern BC. I didn’t get to cook them when the company was here but did not want to waste the opportunity to use them so made this salad today.
I cooked the beets sous vide but you can roast them for a similar intense flavour (boiling them does not yield the same results). I steamed the beet greens and processed them in a blender to a smooth puree with a little salt and sugar. The stems got two different treatment: I pickled half and caramelized the other half.
The result was a multi flavoured salad with a surprise in every bite. Salt and pungent from the cheese, nutty from the walnuts and walnut oil, roasted sweetness from the beets, caramel from the stems and pickled from the rest of the stems. The dressing brought it all together. If this is too much, just do the beets and beet leaf puree, that’s not too much.
Are you going to make it?
4 red beets, smallish
4 yellow beets, smallish
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
Salt and pepper
1 cup walnuts
1 cups crumbled blue cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons walnuts oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Combine all dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake well. Taste and correct seasoning
Beet leaf puree
Wash and roughly chop the beet greens, place in a pot with a little water and cook until wilted. Place in a blender or a food processor and process to form a smooth puree (Vitamix is good for this).
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
Bring sugar, vinegar and water to a boil and cook until sugar dissolves. Pour over the half the beet stems and set aside.
1/2 cup sugar
Half the beet stems, chopped
Cook the sugar in a small skillet over medium heat until melted and golden. Add half the beet stems and cook until most liquid evaporates and the beets are glazed with the sugar. Pour the beets and remaining liquid into a small bowl through a sieve. Keep the liquid (to add to the dressing) and spread the stems on a piece of parchment.
To roast beets in the oven: Peel beets and cut in quarters. Place red and yellow beets in separate foil parcels and pour drizzle with the olive oil, vinegar, syrup and a sprinkling of salt. Pinch the edges of the foil together to create a closed parcel. Bake in a 400F oven fopr 45 minutes or until the beets are cooked through.
to cook the beets sous vide: Place red and yellow beets in two separate sous vide bags and drizzle with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and maple syrup. Cook at 185 for 1.5 h or in accordance with your sous vide machine instructions for beets.
When done, remove beets and place in a bowl.
Drizzle with dressing and let marinate 30 minutes at room temperature.
Dip a pastry brush into the beet puree and make a brush stroke across the plate end to end.
Arrange red and yellow beets in the middle of the plate.
You can splatter some beet juices over the plate for aesthetics if this appeals to you.
Top beets with the two types of stems – pickled and candied.
Scatter blue cheese and walnuts over.
If you have it, add the liquid caramel to the dressing and then drizzle a little more dressing over the beets.
Top with micro greens or other summer greens.
Serve at room temperature.