LOCAVORE’S DELIGHT: The Series # 39. Follow us as we explore the bounty of our region’s farms.
Unfortunately this summer’s finicky weather has poorly affected many of the beets in the area, and the crops at Farlow Farm and Schicker’s Acre did not germinate. This has presented a challenge for us trying to source locally, so as a result we’ve turned to larger concerns, farther away, such as Burch Farms, in Faison, NC.
Besides our affection for beets, we also love beet greens, so at the restaurant, we decided to make a roasted beet salad with some classic accompaniments, like romaine lettuce, toasted walnuts, apples, crumbled bleu cheese and a tarragon vinaigrette. The first time we put that salad on the menu, we were deliberating about what kind of meat to include in the salad. We feel like beets are the venison of the vegetable world, they’re meaty and filling and can hold their own in a salad like that. Sure enough, the salad was an overwhelming success, so we bring it back twice a year, both in the spring and the fall, when we can get beets locally.
Recipe: Roasted Beet Salad
- 4 oz spring mix lettuce
- ½ pound roasted beets, sliced (see below)
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts
- ¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
- ½ local apple, sliced, then cut slices cut in half
- 1 fl oz Tarragon Vinaigrette (see below)
Toss spring mix with vinaigrette and place in serving bowl. Arrange beets around perimeter of bowl rim. Sprinkle walnuts, blue cheese, and apple in the center. Makes 1 serving.
Recipe: Roasted Beets
- 3 pounds red beets
- 1/3 cup water
- kosher salt
Place beets on a sheet tray, add water, and sprinkle with salt. Cover tray with foil and roast in 350 degree oven for 1-1 ½ hours (the skin should slip off). Remove from oven and immerse in cold water. Peel and slice in half lengthwise, and cut into half moons about ¼ inch thick. Yields 1 ½ pounds.
Recipe: Tarragon Vinaigrette
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp dried tarragon
- ¼ cup minced shallots
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 cups canola oil
To a saucepan, add all ingredients, except oil. Heat while whisking, until sugar is dissolved and Dijon is incorporated. Pour into blender or food processor and slowly incorporate oil until all is combined. Makes 1 quart.
In addition to making the beet salad, we roast beets as a side dish, pickle them, and most recently, we began making a beet ketchup. The recipe was inspired by the beet ketchup served this summer at the Farm to Fork Picnic, in Hillsborough. We visited Fickle Creek Farm (from whence comes our lard for our Skillet-Fried Chicken), and they were serving chicken corn dogs with this beet ketchup which was something we had never seen before and we were determined to recreate it at the restaurant. It’s just roasted beets, sugar, spices and vinegar. We serve it with grilled pork chops and it tastes like a more adult version of ketchup—it has more complexity to it.
Recipe: Beet Ketchup
- 1 ½ pounds roasted red beets
- 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 5 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp juniper berries
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 tsp whole allspice
- ½ tsp granulated garlic
- ½ tsp granulated onion
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pot and simmer for one hour or until beets can be puréed in a food mill or food processor. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Process through a food mill or in a food processor (if using a food processor, strain through a fine mesh sieve afterwords). Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator overnight. Process mixture in a blender or food processor in small batches. Force the purée through a fine mesh sieve. Makes 1 quart.
Fun Facts on Beets:
- The three most common types of beets in the marketplace are: red beets, gold beets and chioggia beets (or candy stripe beets).
- They are a great source of natural sugar and most of Europe’s table sugar is processed from beets.
- They are rich in folate, potassium, maganese, beta-carotene, iron, and vitamins B and C.
- They are common in Eastern European cuisine.
- Beet greens have a mild spinach flavor and can be eaten raw (if they’re small and tender), de-stemmed and mixed with other salad greens, or they can be cooked like swiss chard. The best way to cook them is to separate the stem from the leaves and cook the stems first until they’re tender and then add the leaves and cook them until they are lightly wilted.
- Locally, beets can be grown twice a year, in the spring and in the fall, because they thrive during cool nights.
- Smaller beets= sweeter; larger beets= earthier.
- We like to fry sliced beets to mix with sweet potato chips, toasted kale and parsnips, and call it “Autumn Leaves.”
- Their juice stains easily, so it’s advisable to buy some disposable gloves if you’re planning on working with them, otherwise your kitchen might look like a crime scene!
- Ketchup or Catsup? Ketchup is the original term for this beloved American condiment and it’s thought to have either derived from the Malaysian word “ke-tsiap” or “Kecap,” or the Chinese word “kôe-chiap,” for a fermented soy sauce made of pickled fish. Tomatoes did not become the forefront ingredient of ketchup until the late 1700s. Europeans explorers became a fan of the sauce and brought it home with them, referring to it as “catchup,” which later evolved into “ketchup.”
- One of the earliest English recipes for ketchup contained anchovies, lemon peel, vinegar, white wine, shallots, cloves, mace, ginger, and nutmeg.
- The word catsup was noted of first appearing in a poem by Jonathan Swift, in 1730: “And, for our home-bred British cheer, Botargo, catsup, and caveer.”
- Sandy Addison is said to have created the first American documented recipe for ketchup, in the American cookbook, The Sugar House Book, published in 1801.
- Heinz didn’t actually make a tomato-based ketchup until 1876 and they originally called the condiment catsup, later changing to ketchup sometime during the late 1880s. Today, they are the world’s leading ketchup distributor, selling over 600 million bottles each year.
Feeling Adventurous? Try these fun, unusual recipes for beets:
Posted October 2013