Petey, The Kid, nor I are picky eaters. So, even if a food doesn’t appeal to one of us, the other two usually enjoy it.
The Kid and I love corned beef and the Reubens we make with it. Not Petey, but we love canned corned beef hash, which The Kid despises. My spouse and child are dedicated pescitarians, while my finned and gilled tastes run to tuna sandwiches and old-school rectangular fish sticks—which Petey enjoys, but The Kid cannot abide. Avocados and artichokes? The Kid and I yes; Petey no.
And on, and on.
Nobody in this family; not even our giant dog Riker, who deeply relishes finding and snacking on rabbit poop, likes beets. Nobody but me.
I like them roasted, pickled, Harvard style, even from a can. I offer them to my family every time, but if they’re too unenlightened or scared to partake, that’s their problem. I will happily dispatch all the beets all by myself.
Yesterday I brought home some beets. The dark green tops and hot pink stems beckoned to me and suggested that instead of tossing them into my compost as usual, I should experiment.
So I did…and oh how yummy.
Sautéed beet greens
Beet tops from 12-14 beets
1 tablespoon garlic oil
1 onion, chopped
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (always use nutmeg in dark greens, and always use freshly grated nutmeg)
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & Pepper
Chop greens and stems into 1 ½ inch pieces. Put into colander and wash thoroughly; they can get very sandy. Heat garlic oil in large heavy pot with a lid.
Toss in all the greens, stems, and onions, season with about 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to coat everything, drop heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the liquid has released from the veg.
Uncover and cook, stirring frequently until the liquid’s cooked in, and everything’s starting to caramelize. Stir in lemon juice, check for seasoning, and re-season if necessary. Serves 4.
There’s some unusual chemical component I think, in them. The greens and stems produce a very light unctuous sauce, almost like a cornstarch slurry was used. It’s very pleasing to the palate.
You could eat them just like this. They’d also be a revelation spooned over grits. Or add some Parmesan cheese and cream sauce, and then have pastel-hued creamed greens.
I came up with another idea. What about beet green hand pies?
Pink & green hand pies
1 batch sautéed beet greens, cooled
4 ounces goat cheese
8 pieces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Pie crust—either homemade, or store-bought, cut into four 6 inch rounds, about ¼ inch thick.
Salt and pepper
Place cooled beet greens into a large bowl. Break up pieces of goat cheese, and fold into greens. Set out dough rounds on cookie sheet. Place ½ to 2/3 cup of filling into center of dough. Crumble bacon onto top. Fold dough over to form half-moon, and seal edges with a little water and crimp with a fork. Brush with egg, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cut a couple of small slits on top.
Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes, or pies are golden and crispy. These can also be deep-fried in 350 degree oil until golden (don’t cut slits if frying). Serve hot or cold.
You can assemble these but not bake, and freeze them for later. Or, make them much smaller, and serve them at a party.
Thanks for your time.