Beets in Romesco Sauce
Growing up I only remember eating canned beets, but I liked them from an early age. For the holidays, my Grandma and Mother would put bowls of pickled beets on the table (along with my favorite holiday snack, bowls of green and black olives) and I never grew to like them. Even in recent years, I have learned to taste a beet offering on a salad bar, to make sure my salad would not be tainted with one of those dreadful things. When I had my first fresh beet, I was in heaven. Cooked beets just heated up with butter, coarse salt and black pepper is on my favorites list. In Europe, beets come conveniently pre-cooked in pairs, shrink wrapped and ready to go. I don’t understand why that has not become widespread here in the states. I usually cut off the stems and leaves, wrap them in foil, and roast (steam) them in the oven until tender.
I grew two varieties of beets this year in my garden: Detroit Dark Red and Early Wonder. I’m planning to harvest them in early November when I return home from our Foodie Adventures in France and Tuscany.
Romesco sauce is a Spanish sauce made from tomatoes, chilies and nuts and is amazing with roasted vegetables, fish, chicken…and come to think of it, most everything. When we are in Spain, I use Nyora (also known as ñora peppers, pictured below) in my Romesco sauce. They are a little difficult to find here in the states. In Spain, Nyora are always sold dried and are ground to a powder and used in paella, stews and is generally used in place of paprika. Nyora’s are mild and sweet in flavor.
Beets in Romesco SauceCourse: AppetizersCuisine: SpanishDifficulty: Easy
2 pounds fresh beets
3 plum tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Dried Mild Pepper “New Mexico” style
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced French bread
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
- Trim stems and thin roots from beets. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and into a 350-degree oven for about 1 hour (for 2-inch round beets) or until tender.
- Make Romesco sauce: Roast tomatoes and garlic in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. In a small saucepan, combine mild pepper and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes (reducing liquid by half). Heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a small sauté pan and fry the diced bread until they are golden brown.
- Put in food processor. In the same pan, brown the sliced almonds. Add almonds, crushed red pepper, boiled red pepper with juice, and roasted tomatoes and garlic to the food processor. Blend well. Keep running and add sherry vinegar and drizzle in remaining olive oil. Strain and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve at room temperature.
- When the beets are cooked, rinse under cold water and remove their skins. Cool and slice. Toss in Romesco sauce just before service.