Author Janet Fletcher on Warm Beet Greens and Beet Stems with Whipped Feta:
Many people discard the beet stems when preparing beets or beet greens, but the stems can be quite tasty. Boil them separately from the greens, then dress them with garlic, fruity olive oil, and lemon juice. Serve as a first course alongside the cooked greens and some garlicky whipped feta seasoned with mint. Pass warm pita bread and a bowl of Kalamata olives.
Cooks&Books&Recipes Cooks Chris & Karen Warm Beet Greens and Beet Stems with Whipped Feta:
To challenge ourselves and the book, we chose to work with beet greens and stems. We’ve never found ourselves terribly excited about beet greens (having never thought to eat them). Now, however, we would not want to live without them. The “Warm Beet Greens and Beet Stems with Whipped Feta,” served with warm pita and warm Kalamata olives, has become our new comfort food. A little chopping, a little blanching, a quick blitz in the blender, and dinner (or an appetizer) is served. Spicy, light, and full of flavor, we can have dinner ready in a matter of minutes. Plus, there are three more recipes that give you choices for the beets themselves.
Warm Beet Greens and Beet Stems with Whipped Feta
Featured Recipe From: Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- 1 pound beet greens (from about 3 bunches beets)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- Kosher or sea salt
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 pound Greek, French, Bulgarian, or Israeli feta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- Pinch of hot red pepper flakes or coarsely ground medium-hot red pepper such as Syrian Aleppo or Turkish Mara (see Note)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried Turkish mint (see Note), or 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh mint
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Separate the beet leaves from the stems. Cut the stems into 1-inch lengths.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the beet greens and boil until tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer them with tongs to a sieve or colander and run under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain and squeeze dry. Chop coarsely.
3. Add the beet stems to the boiling water and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain in the sieve or colander and run under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain again and pat dry on paper towels.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium skillet over moderate heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beet greens, season with salt, and cook, stirring, until hot throughout. Transfer to a bowl. Add lemon juice to taste and let cool until warm.
5. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over moderate heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beet stems, season with salt, and cook, stirring, until hot throughout. Transfer to a bowl. Add lemon juice to taste and let cool until warm.
6. To make the whipped feta, put the feta, garlic, hot pepper flakes, mint, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small food processor and puree until smooth, adding up to 1 tablespoon more oil if necessary to achieve a smooth consistency.
7. Arrange the beet greens on one end of a serving platter. Put the beet stems on the other end and the whipped feta in the middle. Serve immediately.
Note: Syrian Aleppo and Turkish Mara peppers and dried Turkish mint are available from good spice stores or by mail order from Kalustyan's (www.kalustyans.com).
© 2010 Sur La Table
Reprinted with permission from Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers, by Sur La Table and Janet Fletcher (Andrews McMeel Publishing)