Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Golden beets and their common siblings

Most people think of beets as a winter vegetable, but the summer beets are small and tender unlike their winter cousins. Along with the usual purple beets, golden beets make their entrance in the summer with their tops. They taste the same as purple beets but make a very colorful presentation. The beet greens are also wonderful just simply sauteed with garlic, chili flakes and olive oil.

Beets and yogurt with garlic and herbs are a common pairing in Mediterranean cuisine. But when my husband ate it for the first time in ABC kitchen in New York, it was very unusual. It comes in this deep bowl with the dressing at the bottom and the colorful beets perched on top - an absolutely stunning presentation. Here is the version which my husband makes based on his take of what he ate there.

He boils the beets (since they are baby beets, they boil really quickly). Then he removes the skin and cuts them into wedges. Now comes his take i.e. the yogurt sauce, which has a hint of cumin, a little bit of honey, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a small glug of olive oil. Finally, he tops them with chopped pistachios for a textural contrast. And there you have it - a great interpretation!


Beets with yogurt balsamic dressing
6 to 8 beets depending on size (small ones are the best)

Dressing
1 cup Greek yogurt (I like Chobani fat free - it has a little bit more tang than Fage)
1/2 teaspoon ground toasted cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons extra virgin good quality olive oil

a handful of roasted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

1.  Cook the beets in boiling salted water for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size. It is best to have the same size so that they cook evenly. The beets should be cooked but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool. Once cool, using a kitchen towel, remove the skin and cut into wedges.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt and mix all the ingredients for the dressing into the yogurt.

3. Arrange the beet wedges in a serving bowl and fold in the yogurt dressing. Garnish with chopped pistachios.

Serves 2 to 3.

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