Beets are sweet! And beautiful! And so tasty! I can’t believe I ever thought I didn’t like them. They’re combined here with capers (or flavor dynamites, as they’re known in my family). The tart savory brininess of the capers is a nice relief from the earthy sweetness of the beets. The beets are grated and toasted, and they have a lovely, charred-sugar flavor, and an almost juicy texture. All of this is tucked inside a wonton wrapper (they’re so much fun!) and then quickly fried in olive oil. Making for a perfect little crispy pouch of juicy deliciousness. We had these as a meal with a big salad, but I think they’d be a fun appetizer or snack for a party with a bowl of delicious dipping sauce alongside.
What is that delicious dipping sauce, you ask? Well, it is rich and savory, made with port wine, balsamic, fresh sage, and shallots. It’s a bit like a beurre rouge, but it has a lot less butter in it.
Here’s Down the Dirt Road Blues by Charley Patton. Wonder if he was craving beets as well?
2 medium sized beets, grated (2 packed cups) I used different-sized graters, just for kicks
2 T olive oil
2 t balsamic vinegar
1 t rosemary
1 t thyme
1 clove garlic
1 cup mozzarella, grated
3 T capers
salt and plenty of pepper
Half a pack of wonton wrappers (in the produce section of your grocery store)
Olive oil for frying
Combine the beets with the olive oil, balsamic, thyme and rosemary. Spread on a toaster-oven tray and toast till starting to turn very dark and crispy on the edges. (20 mins? 30 mins?) If you don’t have a baking tray, roast in a regular oven at 425. I toasted my clove of garlic at the same time, so it would be soft and roasty (be sure to cut a slice in the skin so it doesn’t explode!) Combine the toasted beets the capers, cheese and salt and pepper.
Take out a wonton wrapper. Set it on the counter. Dip your finger in water and drag it around the edges of the wonton. Put a teaspoon of filling in the midddle. Fold the wrapper in half diagonally to make a triangle. Press the edges down, and fold the corners down to help seal the deal
Warm some olive oil in a wok or frying pan. When it can sizzle a crumb, drop in as many wontons as will comfortably fit. Fry on each side till golden brown. Drain on paper towels, then put in the toaster oven or a warm oven to keep warm till you’re ready for them.
2 T olive oil
1 shallot, very finely minced
7 or 8 fresh sage leaves
1/4 t marmite
1/4 t tamari
1 t tomato paste
1/3 cup balsamic
1/2 cup port
1/3 cup dry red wine
2 T butter
salt and lots and lots of black pepper
Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sage leaves. When the shallot starts to brown, add the marmite, tamari, and tomato paste. Stir to mix well, and cook for a few minutes. Add the balsamic, port and red wine. Cook till it’s reduced and quite syrupy. About 15 or 20 minutes. Whisk or stir in the butter, salt and pepper. If it’s too thick for your liking, add some water and cook till it’s all warmed through.