Upon arriving home from a long day Sunday at the Ohio Wine & Food Festival at the North Market, I discovered a bag on my porch. At first it seemed full of greens, but then revealed itself to also contain cucumbers and beets. And, not just beets, but candy striped beets! I can't imagine anyone - even a beet hater (poor you) - would be able to resist turning these into something immediately. At first, I thought I was dealing with red beets and golden beets, and I was going to turn everything into strings with my spiral slicer, but whilst peeling the "golden" beets, I discovered they were really stripedy beets! The joy! I knew I had to turn them into carpaccio to best show their lovely hues. To keep the texture interesting, I did turn the red beets on the spiral slicer.
Isn't Carpaccio usually made from meat? Why yes, thanks for asking. And, while I usually shun the usage of calling something by a name which doesn't describe what it is, and even more hate the use of "quotations" on menus (it's even irritating at the French Laundry. Sue me), the term "carpaccio" refers to a dish of thinly slice meat, so named in homage to the artist Vittore Carpaccio (1460is - 1526ish), who used lots of red in his paintings (totally reliable Wiki entry here). Beets are red, carpaccio is red. Ergo, beet carpaccio. Capiche?
This salad is a great lunch or starter, and is very good for you.
Mixed Beet Carpaccio - serves 2
3 candy striped beets
2 red beets
sweet onion, shaved very thinly
Goat's milk feta or other goat cheese
microgreens - here I used arugula microgreens; you could use sprouts or other microgreens
extra virgin olive oil
rice wine vinegar
freshly cracked black pepper
crunchy sea salt
Scrub beets under running water and trim ends, then peel. For projects like this, I like to keep some latex gloves on hand. It can be a pain to wash the beet juice away. Because the red beets will bleed all over everything, keep the beets separate! Slice the stripedy beets very thinly on a mandoline, then place them in the steam basket of a steamer. Sprinkle with salt and steam for 3 minutes; shock briefly in ice water and then immediately remove to paper towels (if you leave them in the water, the color will leech out). Turn the red beets on the smallest setting of a spiral slicer, or slice thinly on a mandoline and repeat the steaming process.
Arrange the candy stripe beets on a plate, arrange some onions over top. Crumble the feta over and add the walnutes. Place the red beets on top and add more feta and walnuts. Drizzle the entire plate lightly with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle lightly with rice vinegar, then top with salt and pepper. Serve as a light lunch, appetizer or salad.
Local Sources for this recipe: beets from nice friends, but beets are prolific at farmer's markets until October. Arugula microgreens are available from Wayward Seed farm, Saturday mornings at the North Market Farmer's Market, Cricketwik Goat's Milk Feta is available at Weiland's, while Lake Erie Creamery goat cheese, which would also be great in this recipe, is available at Curds & Whey in the North Market. Sweet onions, especially the "candy" variety, are available at local farm markets.