This week at my CSA, Tierra Vegetables, the weekly offerings came in jumbo sizes. The enormous fennel bulb rivaled a bocce ball, and one or two Bertoli tomatoes could make a pint of sauce. Also, the Jimmy Nardelo peppers grew long and slender, and one single Lutz beet filled my Instapot. (yes, I love my Instapot! Huge time and energy saver!)
I immediately grabbed my newest favorite cookbook, Grist: A Practical Guide to Cooking Grains, Beans, Seeds, and Legumes,and scoured for ideas for the giant beet, or what I call, “The Beet That Ate New York.” The author, Abra Berens, recommends layering textures and flavors to create a dish. Mix and match crunch, creamy, nutty, sweet, and savory. Also, I grabbed inspiration from the jumbo veggie choices facing me at the kitchen counter.
So, for this beet recipe, I roasted the Jimmy Nardellos, threw together a lovely walnut aillade, boiled some farro, and topped it all with chunks of gorgonzola. The Italian flair for this recipe comes from the use of farro and the local, in-season produce. Then, a bit of the French, Aillade, the garlic-based pesto made with pistachios, walnuts, and sometimes hazelnuts. Think of the root, ail – which means garlic, and its better-known cousin, ailoi.
Beet, Farro, Sweet Pepper, Aillade, and Gorgonzola Salad
- 1 ½ lb. beets (about 2-3 medium-sized, can use any variety)
- ½ cup farro, uncooked
- 2-3 sweet peppers, roasted
- ½ cup gorgonzola, crumbled
For the Walnut Aillade
- ½ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- zest of one orange
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. salt
Prep the beets and farro
- Wash and cut into 1-inch sized pieces. Steam on the stovetop until just cooked through, or use an Instapot if handy.
- Meanwhile, prepare the farro according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
To Roast the Sweet Peppers
- Place whole peppers under the broiler for 3 minutes each side to blacken, Turn peppers to blacken all sides. Remove and place in a plastic bag to steam until cool enough to touch. On a cutting board, peel off blackened skins, discard the stems and seeds. Rough chop the peppers. (If you have a gas stove, this can be accomplished by holding the pepper with tongs and turning over the open flame to blacken.)
For the Aillade
- Combine all ingredients in either a food processor or use a mortar and pestle to make a thick paste.
- On a pretty serving platter, place the beets, then scatter the roasted peppers, farro, and aillade and toss the salad. Add chunks of gorgonzola. Enjoy the complexity of all the flavors!
Upcoming cooking classes…. International Pasta Day – Fusilli with Pesto alla Trapanese – Sunday, October 23. More info here!
Want more beet ideas?