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Monday, April 19, 2010

The Beet Goes On

Beets are  beautiful vegetables..  Even if some people don't like their flavor, there is no denying their actual physical beauty, especially when cooked.  Their color is un-worldly, glowing, deep, rich, and so powerful  that even  when sliced, the inside color drips and stains, a permanent reminder of their status.

I had another weekend of food freedom these past few days while Michael was in Miami on business sipping mojitos in a cabana overlooking the blue Miami water and eating the freshest of seafood.

Last night, I had beets, scallops, asparagus, and soft boiled eggs prepared and paired together in way that utterly surprised me. 

 Roasted beets and beet green salad, cipollini onions and grilled radicchio in a lemon honey vinaigrette topped with pan-seared sea scallops. To the side, grilled pencil-thin asparagus topped with a sliced soft boiled egg and snipped chives. Garnished with toasted almonds, kalamata olives, and diced roma tomatoes.

The fresh beets were brushed with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted in the oven at 350 for an hour, peeled, sliced thinly, and left to rest and chill in their olive oil beet juice.  While the beets were roasting, I blanched and shocked the beet greens and blanched and peeled the cipollini onions. Chilled and resevered.

The vinaigrette was a simple one to three ratio of olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.

After seasoning the asparagus, I grilled them in a very hot grill pan until just cooked, but still crisp and bright green.  While they grilled, I tossed oil brushed cipollini onions, radicchio wedges, and almonds onto the pan to sear and color.

After thoroughly drying the scallops and liberally dousing them with salt and pepper, I pan-seared the scallops until an almost opaque medium rare doneness.

While the scallops and asparagus were still warm, I plated the roasted beets and greens, drizzled them  with the  vinaigrette, and topped the beets with the  pan-seared scallops. I fanned the asparagus to the side, sliced open the soft boiled egg allowing the warm runny yolk to ooze down between the tender stalks, and snipped fresh spring chives over the eggs to finish.

I sprinkled everything with toasted almonds, kalamata olives, and diced romas tomatoes........and ate.

It was a total adventure on a plate.  The many components were perfectly balanced and complimentary to each other. The beets were incredibly earthy, tasting like dirt( in a good way) and the ground they were raised in and pulled out from, while the vinaigrette sharpened their earthy tone. The beet stained briny sweet scallops were the perfect counterpoint to the unctuous beets.  Surf and turf.  Sea and earth. Perfect.

The crisp salty asparagus draped in a warm egg yolk was unbelievable.  Creamy, soft, and rich with an al dente grassy asparagus bite and enough fresh chive to cut through the buttery fatness.  Undone.

The almonds and Kalamata olives were the tongue heros.  The briny sharpness of the olives hit the front of the tongue while the almonds lingered and tickled the back. As in music, the almonds undertones were key, grounding all of the flavor notes like a baritone or bass taming an out of control diva soprano.

Roasted Beets. Scallops. Asparagus. Soft Boiled Egg. Olives. Almonds. Vinaigrette.


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