When I was a child, the only beets I ever saw were the ones that came from a can. Needless to say, I never liked beets… The odor emanating from the can alone used to make me run out of the kitchen as fast as my legs could move.
It’s not until I started growing my own vegetables in my early 20′s that I truly discovered beets. They were very easy to grow and if re-seeded a couple of times in the season, I could harvest them from late spring all the way to the first snow. They came in all kinds of colors and best of all I could eat the roots as well as feast on their luscious green tops. I became a voracious fan of beets!
A quick way to prepare the beet greens is to sauté them with garlic and red pepper flakes (I love adding a bit of spiciness to cooked leafy greens – it’s a marriage made in heaven!). Here I serve these warm beet-green crostini as an hors d’oeuvre or appetizer. Cooked this way, the greens become incredibly tender and flavorful.
As for the roots, I roast them in the oven with a little sherry vinegar – it brings out their sweetness. To me they’re better than candies. I serve them in this Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Baby Watercress, Endives, Goat Cheese and Walnuts… They’re nothing less than sublime.
On a side note, the video accompanying today’s recipe is full of tips on how to pick and cook fresh beets.
Spicy Beet-Green Crostini
makes 12 crostini or serves 4
active time: 25 min
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes or to taste
- 2 large garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
- 12 oz (340gr) beet greens (or Swiss chard) – trimmed, thoroughly rinsed, spun dry and cut in 1/4” strips
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 12 baguette slices – cut on the diagonal in 1/4″ thick slices
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Step 1: Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add the oil, red pepper flakes and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute only. Add the beet greens and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until all the juices have evaporated and greens turn dark green, tossing from time to time. Add the salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Toss well and remove from heat.
- Step 2: Preheat the broiler. Toast the bread under the broiler on each side until golden and crispy. Top each bread slice with a small mound of beet greens and drizzle with a little olive oil. Set two crostini on an individual plate and serve warm.
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Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.