It’s nice to have their company in our warm home on dark cold nights, but I’m sure that they, too, are dreaming of a long late balmy evening, when they can slip from our windows into the sweet summer air.I was quite proud of this meal! I bought a bunch of golden beets, which seem at once wintery and summery. I wanted to do something that used the greens and the beets, and this is what I came up with. I made a dense sort of quiche with the greens, using goat cheese and a little corn meal for texture. I seasoned it with rosemary, thyme and garlic. And I baked them in a muffin pan with large, shallow cups. I lined these with crumbs made from toasted pecans, corn meal and whole wheat bread. I didn’t know if they would come out properly, and I feared I’d have a burnt sticky mess, but they came out perfectly…crispy and buttery outside, and tender and tasty within. I made a sort of sauce for them with the beets sliced very thin, braised in white wine and balsamic and then stewed with tomatoes until the beets were tender crisp and the tomatoes were completely broken down and saucy. And that’s that! We ate them with small potatoes roasted with capers and lemon and a simple arugula salad.
Here’s Bob Marley with Put it On. Feel them spirit!
1 head golden beets, including greens (my bunch included 4 smallish beets)
spinach or chard
2 T butter
1 t thyme
1 t rosemary
1 plump clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup goat cheese
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
3 T cornmeal
1 t baking powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup pecans, toasted
1 slice whole wheat bread
2 T corn meal
2 T butter or olive oil
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
1 t basil
1 t balsamic
1/2 cup white wine (++)
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425.
Peel the beets, cut them in half lengthwise and thin into 1/8th inch slices. Set aside. Trim and wash the greens. Roughly chop them. You want about 2 packed cups. I added some chopped clean baby spinach to make up the difference.
Melt 2 T of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the thyme, rosemary and garlic. Stir and fry for a minute or two, then add the greens. Stir and fry for a minute. Add a few tablespoonfuls of water, cover, and cook until the greens are tender but still bright. Remove the lid, and cook until the pan is quite dry. Set aside to cool a bit.
In a food processor, combine the nuts, bread, and 3 T cornmeal, and process until coarse and crumbly. Generously butter 6 large shallow muffin cups (deeper ones are fine, too, but you’ll need to cook them a bit longer.) Line each cup with crumbs. You can pile them in the bottom and then press them to the sides with your fingers. Don’t worry about getting it completely even.
In a blender or food processor combine the eggs, milk, cheeses, 2 T corn meal, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Process until quite smooth. Add the greens, and process to combine and chop them. You don’t want it too smooth. Pour this mixture into the crumb-lined muffin tin.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or so, until they’re puffed and golden brown, and they spring back when you press gently on them.
Meanwhile, melt 2 T butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced beets and stir and fry until they start to brown and soften, five – eight minutes. Add the tomatoes and basil, stir and fry for a moment, and then add the balsamic and wine. Continue to stir and fry until the wine is reduced and syrupy. Add about 1/3 cup water, cover, and cook until the beets are as tender as you like them 20 – 25 minutes. Continue to stir and add water so that everything is tender and saucy. Season well with salt and pepper.
Run a knife around the timbales and carefully lift them out. Put them on a plate and spoon the beets over them.