Saturday, May 23, 2009

Beets and Their Greens With Marjoram Pesto

Deborah Madison's Local Flavors turns out to be a seasonal market cookbook that's actually functional! I wandered into my kitchen one day in March with the vague idea of cooking that last bunch of beets and ended up whipping up a 3 course meal that perfectly used my farmers market odds and ends. Everything was simple and fantastic. The recipes here are so in tune with my lazy/pared-down/homestyle/clean-out-the-fridge style of cooking, but always with a fresh spin that sets it apart from anything I would cook on my own.

Beets and Their Greens With Marjoram Pesto

1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rounds
white wine vinegar
8 to 12 small beets, golden and/or chiogga, including the greens
olive oil
sea salt

Toss the onions with vinegar nearly to cover and refrigerate until needed. They will turn bright pink.

Wash and trim the beet roots and greens, discard stems. Steam greens until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and then chop coarsely. Toss with a little olive oil and salt.

Steam the beet roots until tender, about 25 minutes. Slip off the skins. Trim the tops and tails, quarter them, sprinkle with a little vinegar.

Marjoram Pesto
1 small slice country bread
2 tablespoons aged red wine vinegar
1 garlic glove, coarsely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup marjoram leaves
3 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 cup coarsely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons pitted olives
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Remove crust from the bread, soak in vingear.

Add garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of pepper, marjoram capers, pine nuts, parsley, and olives to a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the bread and olive oil and pulse until the pesto is well mixed - it will be very thick. Adjust salt/pepper/vinegar. Refrigerate until needed.

(For the record, I made this batch with all olives instead of capers, and walnuts instead of pine nuts.)

Toss the beets with the pesto, serve on greens. Remove onions and scatter on top of beets.

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