Top: The secret ingredient is popped
mustard seeds. Photo courtesy Samin
Nosrat. Bottom: Serve either recipe with
homemade pita wedges. Photo courtesy
The Pioneer Woman.
Our supermarkets are filled with cooked, packaged, ready-to-eat beets brought in for Valentine’s Day. While we love fresh-roasted beets, they’re the most time-consuming root vegetables to prepare.
We got the message. We’re using the pre-cooked beets to make Valentine dips and spreads. If you want to roast your own, we salute you.
This recipe, by California chef and author Samin Nosrat, is adapted from one published on BonAppetit.com (and further adapted by us). We received it from Good Eggs in San Francisco, an outstanding grocery delivery service.
Good Eggs recommends it as an addition to a composed salad, a spread for a cheese board or a tangy addition to a sandwich. “Once you start stirring popped mustard seeds into your savory cooking, you’ll never stop,” they assure us.
RECIPE #1: MASHED BEETS WITH MUSTARD SEEDS
Ingredients For 2 Cups
1 pound red beets (you can use other colors for other occasions)
Cooking oil of choice
1 teaspoon brown or yellow mustard seeds
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
1. HEAT a small pan over medium heat for a minute. Pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the mustard seeds. Swirl the pan until the mustard seeds begin to pop, cover the pan so the seeds don’t escape, and reduce the heat to low. After about 30 seconds, you’ll hear the popping slow down.
2. REMOVE the pan from the heat and let the seeds cool, uncovered, for a minute or two. Cut the beets into large chunks and place them in the bowl of a food processor, along with the garlic. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. You can use a potato masher if you prefer it to a food processor: The mashed beets will be a much rougher texture (like hand-mashed potatoes) but still fine for all purposes.
3. ADD the popped mustard seeds, yogurt, a big squeeze of lemon juice, and some salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
RECIPE #2: BEET YOGURT DIP, SPREAD OR TOPPING
This is the yogurt to whip up for Valentine’s Day. You can make it with any color of beets, but save the orange and yellow for another occasion and use red beets. You can make the recipe a day in advance.
Use beet yogurt as a dip, a spread, or as a topping—for baked potatoes, cottage cheese, grains, veggies, sandwiches, etc.
Ingredients For 6 Servings
1 pound beets (about 3 medium)
1-1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt (your choice of 0%, 2% or full fat)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint plus torn leaves for garnish
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon*
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Crudités: cucumber slices, carrots, anything good for scooping
A very romantic dish of yogurt. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco.
Whole wheat pita, cut into triangles and toasted (recipe below, or substitute pita chips)
*If you don’t like the licorice notes in tarragon, substitute basil or chervil.
If you want to roast your own beats, follow the first three steps. Otherwise, skip to Step 4.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F.
2. SCRUB and trim the beets, but leave the skins on. Place them in a small baking pan or casserole and fill it with 1/2″ hot water. Sprinkle with salt, cover with a piece of parchment paper, and then cover dish tightly with foil.
3. ROAST the beets until tender, about 1 hour. Remove them from the baking pan and let them cool until they are comfortable to grasp. Then, using a paper towel, rub off the skins.
4. GRATE the beets coarsely with a box grater, Microplane or the grating disc of a food processor. Blend with the yogurt, mint, tarragon, olive oil, and vinegar. Taste and season with salt and vinegar as desired.
5. COVER and chill the yogurt for 3 hours or overnight for the flavors to meld.
RECIPE: TOASTED PITA WEDGES
Whole wheat pita
1. CUT each pita round into 6 wedges and place them on a baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt as desired.
2. BAKE for 5 minutes or until crisp.