Chef's Recipe: For Beet's Sake!
Written by Cherie Levan
Thursday, 20 October 2011 12:20
Beets As the cool, crisp air of Fall blows through the Island, my mind turns to beets. One would think apples, squash, chantrelles, and pumpkins would be top of mind. No, I crave a rainbow of beets and their luscious leafy greens in just about every meal. Steamed, roasted, pureed, and pickled are some favorite preparations but they all focus on the beautiful ruby orb itself, not the nutrient full greens. And we all know the leaves are packed with vitamins.
So feeling envious of all the chickens who get to munch down our tasty discarded beet greens, I went on a recipe testing expedition where I could use the entire beet. While on my search, I stumbled across farro. This nutty, ancient grain is perfect as an addition to side dishes or even as an entrée. And you know what else is great about this cornucopia of nutrients? Not only is it a protein packed, vitamin rich dish, but it is also scores a perfect 10 on the yum scale. What’s more, every ingredient is made in our gorgeous state with most of the items found right here in Kitsap County.
Give it a try. Gluten intolerant folks may obviously forgo the farro. This is a perfectly tasty salad without the farro as well. Enjoy and be happy in knowing you ate the whole beet, for beet’s sake!
Roasted Beet Salad with Greens on a Bed of Bluebird Grain Farm Farro
(Recipe inspiration from Cynthia Lair, of Cookus Interuptus fame)
1 Cup of Bluebird Grain Farms Farro
6-8 Large Beets - the more colorful, the better. (The perfect mix is the chiogga and early wonder beets!)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 small shallot, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¾ cup of fruity extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of Port Madison Farms Chevre, crumbled
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme, stripped
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
¼ Salted and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1. Prepare the farro according to the instructions from Bluebird Grain Farms. (I prefer to soak mine overnight)
2. While the farro cooks, prepare the beets. Wash thoroughly and remove stems. Pierce all over with a fork. Place in shallow pan with about 1 to 2 inches of water and cover tightly with foil. Roast at 400 for 10-15 minutes. (Depending on the size of your beets, this may take a bit longer.) Pierce with fork when and extend cooking time when necessary. The beets should be firm but tender.
3. While the beets roast, dry the greens. Cut away and discard any off colored leaves and any tough stems. Rough chop the greens and place in bowl.
4. Prepare the vinaigrette. (This is so tasty, you may want to triple the recipe!). And the farro soaks up the liquid pretty rapidly. Peel the shallot and the garlic. Finely mince both. Place in bowl with salt, pepper, and Dijon. Add the vinegar and whisk together. Once combined, slowly add the olive oil in a stream until it emulsifies. Another fun way to place all ingredients in a Dijon jar and shake!
5. Once everything is cooled and chopped, assemble, toss the pumpkin seeds on, and enjoy! It gets better the next day. The strong color of the beets will dye everything in this dish a beautiful pink. If pink is not your thing, add the beets at the very last minute and toss gently. I always reserve a few beet chunks for garnish
Cherie Levan is the owner of Simply Bainbridge, a local catering and events company. Cherie partners with farmers all over Kitsap County searching for the most perfect beet. Most recently, the fine farmers of Persphone, Farmhouse Organics, and Sol Farms have shared their fields of beet gold with Simply Bainbridge diners. Farro can be found in the bulk section of Town and Country.