A Present For Cathy
Because I know she loves Moroccan flavors, and to celebrate her new house, here is a special dish just for Sister Chatty. It can be served either as a first course or as a salad.
The recipe is a slight adaptation from Gerald Hirigoyen’s brand new Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition.
Roasted Beets With Moroccan Spices and Aged Sherry Vinegar
2 lbs red beets (or substitute other colors if desired)
1 tbls plus ¾ cup canola or grape seed oil
Salt and pepper
¾ cup thinly sliced red onion
¾ cup aged Sherry vinegar
1 tsp ras el hanout
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbls harissa
2 tbls chopped fresh chives
Preheat oven to 400F.
Trim the stems & roots from unpeeled beets, leaving an inch on each end. Rub the beets with oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, wrap individually in foil. Roast until tender, 30-60 minutes depending on size.
Transfer beets to a bowl of cold water. When they are still warm, but cool enough to handle, top and tail them and slip off the skins. Cut into ½ inch cubes, or slice thickly.
In a bowl, combine the beets and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, ras el hanout, cumin, and harissa. Whisk in the remaining ¾ cup oil until combined. Pour the dressing over the beets and onion and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt & pepper. Sprinkle with chives just before serving.
OH Yum! I love interesting recipes for vegetable dishes. I read someplace that restaurants consider putting a vegetable side dish on the plate to be bothersome. That is really sad to me. I think vegetables can be very intersting and flavorful. Thanks KY.
I love pickled beets and beet salads. There is an interesting combination of flavors going on with this dish.The spiciness must really go well with the beats. I would almost think it like a hot and sour combination. KY, are the ras el hanout and harissa common in Basque cooking?
I'm not particularly familiar with Basque cooking, IC. Far as I know, both ras el hanout and harrisa are unique to Moroccan cuisine.
However, Hirigoyen spells in ras al hanout, which suggests a Moorish connection and a past relationship with the Basque.
Oddly, the vinegar does not make it sour. The onions seems to absorb the bulk of it, and the mixture tastes as if the spiced beets had been mixed with pickled onions.
All in all, a very tasty dish. We had it as a starter, followed by venison roast and pomate of parsnips. Had some left-over kumquat chutney from the other night, and it went perfectly with the venison.
BTW, while ras el hanout and harrisa are available in specialty shops and on-line, you're really better off making your own. Cathy has some great recipes for both. If she's too busy to type them, I'll send you mine if you're interested.
>I read someplace that restaurants consider putting a vegetable side dish on the plate to be bothersome.<
I'd never heard it put quite that way, Jfain. Nor do I believe it. Not with good restaurants. Low-end restaurants, on the other hand, sometimes put the mechanics of production in front of customer needs/wants.
For instance, the reason McRibs are not a permanent part of the McDonald's menu is that the store managers don't like them, as they require keeping two products at two different temperatures. The fact that McRibs are the most popular item sold, when available, and is preferred over a Big Mac or whatever, is irrelevent to them.
What you have to understand is the way real restaurants are set up---with various lines. Usually the cook doing the protein is not the same cook doing veggies. So, unless the veggie is part of the entree plating, what they'd rather do is serve the vegetables on a separate plate. Sometimes that's feasible, and sometimes not. But being a bother isn't part of the equation.
I have had some good vegetable dishes at restaurants but normally if it's not an actually vegetarian entree the veg is just something like steamed broccoli asparagus. I'm not knocking that because I like vegetables just steamed but it would be nice to see more originality with vegetables. There is almost never a vegetable appetizer at restaurants. There was one restaurant in town that for a while was doing an artichoke for apps and I LOVED it! I went there alot until they stopped serving it.
I know they say that McDonald's has gotten healthier but I don't buy it. I wound go into that restaurant for anything but to use the bathroom on a long trip. Same with all of them Arby's, Wendy's, Long John Silvers, Captain D, KFC. I know that some people like it and that's fine but it's not for me.
Healthier or not, I find the "food" in all those squat & gobble places to be all but inedible, and we avoid them like the plague.
Don't know where you eat out, but most restaurants that we visit offer a choice of sides, which includes several vegetables. For instance, the place we dined the other night, had two vegetable appetizers (one on the menu, the other a special), and a choice of five sides not counting the potato offerings. In fact, I had corn pudding as one of my sides.
Don't know where you eat out, QUOTE]
Well I live in Columbus which is one of the fattest cities in America with over 50% of the population being obese so as you can imagine we have a lot of big fatty restaurants. There are a couple that are good. Aladdin's has some healthy options and a lot of vegetables on the menu. There is a vegetarian Indian place Udipi right down the road from us and sushi is also a pretty good option as long as it's not the deep fried stuff with cream cheese. We have some nice restaurants here but they don't offer a lot of vegetable side dishes. The one exception to that is Hyde Park. They have a lot of wonderful menu items unfortunately since they are $$$$$$ very expensive I've only been there a few times.
Thanks a million Brook, this sounds wonderful!!! And you know my likes, that's for sure! I will make this for our housewarming get-together this coming Saturday! Wish everyone from SP could be there with us!
A veggie/dining-out question... (just to play devil's advocate and cause trouble!) How many of you really dine-out for the veggies?
Are you not like most folks? You get the urge and you think: "Pizza", "Mexican", "Chinese", "Ribs", "Steak" or "Seafood"? OR do you actually wake-up and think: "Creamed Spinach", "Carrot Stix" and "Green Beans"?