mash down in beet town

It's not often I try and come up with a dish whole cloth, but every so often I get inspired. Lately, I've been experimenting with a dish based on seeing a plate decoration. It featured beets puréed with ricotta. It was just a schmear off to the side of the plate but I thought it had more potential, if I could pull it off.

Given that this is an ongoing experiment, the ingredients based on a 2-serving basis, that you can simply multiply up or half as needed. My goal was to offset the rich, sweetness of the beets and ricotta with a bit of savory, pairing it with a bitter green and then top it with a sharp, tangy dressing. 

If you give this a whirl, I'd love to know what you thought, or if you have any suggestions for improving it.

2 small-to-medium beets, peeled and cut into eighths
1 clove of garlic, peeled and halved (maybe just half for a single serving)
½ tsp of fresh thyme
pinch of turmeric
½ a cup of fresh milk ricotta
8-10 raw brussels sprouts, stemmed, halved and sliced thinly
2 shallots, chopped
1 lime
½ cup of greek yogurt
4 roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
salt, pepper, olive oil

boil.
Take the peeled and chopped beets and garlic halves, place them in a pot and cover them with about an extra inch or more of water. Add a half tsp of salt, a splash of olive oil and the spices. Turn the heat on high. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to a rollicking simmer and cover the pot. Beets are hearty roots, and will take a little while to take about 20-30 minutes to cook fully.

chop.
While your beets are boiling, chop the shallots and put them in a small bowl. Juice the lime over them and a half tsp of salt. Stir and set it aside. The citrus will take the raw onion edge off the shallots. Chop the brussels sprouts and set them aside for assembly later. Same with the hazelnuts.

whip, mash.
Add the yogurt to the shallots. Grind some fresh pepper over it and whip it all together.

When you can easily pierce the beets with a fork, Drain them in a colander, retaining the garlic as well as the roots. Place them in a small mixing bowl with the ricotta cheese and splash of olive oil. With an hand or immersion blender, purée them until smooth. Obviously, if you have food processor, that will do the trick masterfully, but if I'm only making a serving for two, the clean-up is easier with the immersion blender.

pile.
Divvy the beet purée up among serving bowls, Cover that with equal portions of chopped brussels sprouts. Dress that with yogurt mixture—making sure to fork over the shallots with it. Lastly garnish it with chopped hazelnuts, et voila.

If you have more time, you could roast the beets. The charred goodness would deepen the dish, but boiling takes about half the time.


Once I had the title of this post, it was destined to have a reggae soundtrack. My go-to setting for reggae is rocksteady—that brief period between ska and reggae proper, with mid-tempo island beats and an obsession with the aching harmonies of Motown.

I note, with some regret, that this was not my best day for drawing, but after 3 tries, I wasn't going to let my fumbling fingers keep me from blogging.