I know beets haven’t arrived in farm stands yet—but I’m looking forward to them! Here is a very fattening but a very fun, delectable, and showy way to use this colorful vegetable.
The recipe comes from my dear friend Michael Collins, the chef at the now closed Green Emporium in Colrain, Massachusetts. Michael and his partner Tony Palumbo are hoping to open a new Mexican restaurant, Mi Vida Loca, in nearby Shelburne Falls soon. I can’t wait to eat there—and I’m hoping the new eatery will have room for a piano so I can perform!
If you have high-speed internet, you can watch Michael prepare the beets with a little help from me by clicking “play” on the video below the recipe.
Just in case you can’t watch videos (I can’t at home in Massachusetts!), I have provided the recipe.
3 small beets
a small handful of pine nuts
a small, flat bowl lined with all-purpose flower
panko bread crumbs as needed
olive oil as needed for light frying
a bed of red-leaf lettuce
a few tablespoons fresh, soft goat cheese
the juice of 1/2 lemon
freshly ground pepper
fresh chives to taste
Quickly wash the beets and immerse them in boiling, salted water. Return the water to a boil, turn it down, and simmer the beets until they are fork tender (about 40 minutes). Drain the beets, rinse them in cold water, and quickly remove their skins and ends. If you wish, you may do this first step early in the day and finish preparing the salad just before you want to serve it.
When you are almost ready to serve the salad, toast the pine nuts in a small iron skillet until they start to smell lovely and begin to brown. Remove them from the pan and set them aside.
Place the flour in one bowl, the egg in a second bowl, and the panko crumbs in a third bowl. Add a small amount of water to the egg, and whisk the egg and water together.
Slice each beet into four slices. Dip the beet pieces first in the flour, then in the egg mixture, and finally in the crumbs.
Pour oil into a 10-inch skillet (enough to cover the bottom). Heat the oil over medium heat. When it is hot, add the breaded pieces of beet and cook them quickly until they are golden brown, turning once. (This will take less than 5 minutes.)
Place the lettuce on a plate, and arrange the fried beet pieces on top. Top each beet with a small amount of cheese; then squeeze lemon juice over all. Sprinkle pepper and freshly cut chives on top of the salad.
Serves 2 elegantly.