Roasted Heirloom Beets, Hand-pulled Mozzarella, Endives, and Garlic Scape Pesto
I often hear someone say "ughh.. you really like beets?" yeah! of course I do... they taste like dirt and they stain your piss a pinky hue..they also give you tainted rosy lips and cheeks.. c'mon and its au naturale.. who wouldn't like them now? Yeah.. I understand that the beets we mostly come across are at salad bars (i.e. sizzler, country clubs..etc.. uh..not for me) and really they make such a bad rep for them as they fling them out of their tin home that had been sulking in storage collecting dust. Thankfully a lot more of us are beginning to accept beets into their diet (good on ya!) Bulls blood (the most notorious), golden, candy cane, blankoma, and chiogga, are the beets we have consumed..but there may be more but these are just my favorites. They're such a versatile vegetable.. you can use them as dyes, eat them raw..pickle 'em, roast, toast, broil, boil, juice 'em, fry them as chips even! and they're all good prepared in any way. I really like my beets.. and I think my friends find me a little peculiar when it comes to them..for no one in their right mind should be jumping out of their seats at the sight of "beets" written on a menu or anywhere for that matter. Honestly.. if I saw that the beets were being prepared with an entree that I didn't really want.. I'd ask them if they could prepare it as a side for me.
So today I prepared them the way I always do.. roasting. Simply throw the beets into the a square baking pan lined with enough foil to cover them..Add in like 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, evoo, kosher salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Cover them up and place them in a 400 F oven for about 30 or so minutes.. depending on the size of your beets.. A tip is to buy even sized beets..this will ensure even cooking time. If there's no option then cut it up the same size. One other tip to know when your beets are done is with your nose.. once they've cooked the aroma will overwhelm the kitchen.. tangy, zippy, and earthy....so take them out and pierce them with a knife, if it goes in with ease..you're good to go. It's easiest to peel the skins when they're still hot, so let the steam escape a bit, and peel them quickly and don't hurt yourself.. I suggest using gloves if you have bull's blood beets (red beets), they stain pretty much everything they come across but if you're like and me and don't really care then don't bother..
I peeled all the beets and cut them into quarters and set them aside in a bowl, drizzled a little garlic scape pesto oil (which I made yesterday..it'll be posted soon!) on them to keep them form drying out, seasoned with salt and peppe
r as well.. I pulled the leaves off the endive and sliced them lengthwise for easier and more ladylike chewing and threw them into the bowl of beets. I decided to pull apart the mozzarella just because I didn't quite enjoy staring at a starkly white oval ball on my off-white plate...anyway..after getting over that obstacle.. plating began by dotting all of the elements keeping it all even amongst one another.. I then finished it off with more garlic scape pesto and just a touch of aged balsamic to cut the richness of the mozzarella and a last sprinkle of kosher salt to round it up.
If you've never had endives before I highly recommend it.. it's far more atas than your average romaine.. and that sad bag mix of mesclun..believe me.. It's crisp yet tender, and there isn't much taste to it but it's bursting with moisture in each bite. It holds up well with any dressing.. but I think I enjoy it most with a more acidic dressing with a heavy mustardy base.
I don't have much else to write abo
ut this..all I can say is.. eat them beets, just not from the tin can please.. and I have a sudden hanker to make blueberry cookies.. Oh who know's.. I just might!