No waste cooking with beets


I like beets.  I know a lot of people that don’t, like my friend Steve or my father-in-law.  But I do.  Beets are delicious and amazingly loaded with all sorts of nutrients, plus they’re extraordinarily easy to cook with.  And lastly, the whole plant is edible.

The other day I was walking through the grocery store and bought a bunch of beets because they were only $2 or $3 for a bunch. I’d wanted to do something with sunchokes and scallops, so I decided that I’d throw the beets into the party as well.

What I ended up doing was this:  roasting the beets, pickling the stems, and braising the leaves while I made a sauce out of the sunchokes and sauteed the scallops.

To pickle the stems, I chopped the stems into a very small dice and used the following recipe:

Bring 1 cup of champagne vinegar (you could really use any wine vinegar), 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil, then pour over the cut stems, cover and put in the fridge.

For the beets themselves, I put them in a pan with water, salt and pepper, covered with foil and roasted at 350 for about an hour and a half, until tender. 

For the leaves, I treated them pretty similarly to swiss chard leaves or kale (except that I didn’t blanch them first), and sauteed some minced garlic in vegetable oil, added the leaves with a healthy pinch of salt, sauteed until wilted, then added vegetable stock that I’d made earlier in the day.

That’s really all there is to it.  As far as the dish as a whole, I’m not sure the sunchoke puree really stood out with all the bold flavors on the plate.  Actually I’m not sure what sort of sauce would work, maybe something citrus based to cut through the creaminess/sweetness of the beets and scallops and to contrast with the bitterness of the greens?  And I wish we had larger plates, because everything looks crammed together:



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