Beet balls (made with semolina and ricotta)

Beet balls

Beet balls

On the way back from the shore, we passed through long low fields of blueberry bushes, crazed orchards of wildly tangled peach trees, fields of dry golden wheat, and fields of corn, vivid and green, but still only as high as an elephant shrew’s eye. We bought some (obviously not very local) corn cobs anyway, despite the fact that Isaac currently only has one front tooth. The boys sat in the back yard and husked it. The soft pale corn silk covered everything, clinging like spiders’ webs. Today I tried to clear it away, but I couldn’t do it. I stood with a silky tangle of strands in my hand, and I thought that this morning it feels impossible to clean them away completely. But I know they’ll be gone, without my even noticing, they’ll dry up and blow away, or another rain storm will reduce them to pulp and they’ll disappear into the earth. And I thought about the winter, about how in January I’d probably like to find a wispy fragment of corn silk, because it would remind me of summer, but I won’t because it will all be gone. And that’s what summer is like.
Beet balls

Beet balls

Beets beets and more beets from the CSA! I wanted to do something different with them, other than just roasting them. Well, I roasted them, and then I mixed them with a batter of semolina flour and ricotta and dropped them in some hot olive oil. Beet balls! I thought they were delicious, and the boys liked them a lot, too. Light and tender on the inside, crispy on the outside. I flavored them with smoked paprika and a pinch of nutmeg. They’d be nice with any kind of sauce, either to serve them in or to dip them in. A creamy nut sauce, a simple tomato sauce, a pesto, a spicy catsup,

Here’s Yo La Tengo with Season of the Shark from Summer Sun, because we just watched Jaws with the boys. I was obsessed with this song for a while!

4 small beets, peeled and grated
1 T olive oil
1 t rosemary, chopped
4 or 5 fresh sage leaves, chopped, or 1 t dried
1 cup semolina flour
1 t baking powder
1 t smoked paprika
pinch nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup ricotta
2 eggs
1 cup sharp cheddar

olive oil for frying

Preheat the oven to 425. Combine the grated beets, herbs and olive oil on a small baking tray. Roast for 15 or 20 minutes until they’re starting to get dark and crispy and smell a bit like burnt sugar. You can also do this in the toaster oven, on toast, if, say, you’re kitchen is 100 degrees! Stir the beets from time to time to be sure they’re fairly evenly roasted. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the semolina flour, baking powder, smoked paprika, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the ricotta. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the cheese. Mix everything together thoroughly.

Stir the beets into the semolina mixture. Let everything sit while you warm some oil in a large skillet over medium heat. You want about 1/4 inch of oil in the pan. When it’s hot enough to sizzle a crumb, drop the batter by teaspoonfuls into the oil. Fry, turning frequently, until the balls are golden brown on all sides and firm to the touch. Leave in a warm oven till all of the batter is fried.

Serve with any sauce you like…pecan tarator sauce, simple tomato sauce, pistachio and arugula pesto pesto, anything!

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3 thoughts on “Beet balls (made with semolina and ricotta)

  1. I was just thinking of fresh corn off the cob today (in fact I made a Mexican corn salad). I lived in New Jersey when I had no front teeth and my mother would cut the fresh corn my father grew off the cob and saute it in butter with onion and green pepper. I felt so special. Everyone else was eating it off the cob. Today I still prefer fresh corn off the cob.

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