It must be the Virgo in me. Or my fascination with colors and what they can do to people. Perhaps also my motherly instinct that makes me want to protect who and what ever seems to be in a rather difficult situation. In any way: I am intrigued, absolutely intrigued, by beets.
I love its gnarly, anti uniform, rough look. The color, the flavor, the texture, the smell. I like its earthiness, which is kind of obvious, and I love its sweetness, which comes surprising. I love the gentle, versatile character that hides behind the beet’s stubborn facade. I love, love, love beets. Period.
And while I try to pace myself – because not every one in my family is as fanatic as I am, to put it mildly – I could not resist to buy a few bunches of red beets yesterday at the market, when they smiled at me, crookedly as they do. So home we went, and while my mind was turning around some Gold Nugget tomatoes, all of a sudden I remembered those four sweet potatoes sitting somewhere in the dark for a while now. Rustic and robust just like the beets, but a total and bright contrast in every other aspect. They seemed like a perfect couple.
And that’s how I came up with this savory Napoleon. The goat cheese is a classic pairing with beets; it is less common with sweet potatoes, but not less perfect, as it turned out. (I picked a small log of semi aged St.Maure, but any fresh goat cheese will work as well. As will other cheeses, like for instance a creamy blue or even a Raclette.) The idea to use the beet greens came naturally, while I was admiring the unusual yet stunning color combination of that dark, dark reddish purple, bright pink and vibrant green.
I served the Napoleons baked, as an appetizer. They would also make a lovely side dish of any kind of protein though. And in the summer time I will try them unbaked, served at room temperature; simply drizzled with a bit of good oil, as an alternative to salad. There’s softness (in the veggies), crunch (in the greens) and creaminess (in the cheese). One gets earthiness, sweetness and tang. And all together finishes in a smooth, gooey harmony. – Even the non Virgos (four out of six at my table), the one color blind and those with no motherly instinct (all of my male family members) agreed that this was quite something and quite different. So home we will go together again, my sweet beets. Home, beet home. Continue reading “Sweet Beet” »