M. Andrew Gordon

Beet Greens

In Appetizers, Side Dishes on June 30, 2010 at 8:13 am

Swiss Chard

Beet Greens

Counter to the Mango-Avocado-Jicama Salad is this dish, a simple presentation of baby beet greens and young chard.  I was at my parent’s house and was looking at my mother’s garden when she remarked how the beets needed to be thinned.  I quickly volunteered to take the young beet greens, all sorts of visions of tasty salads percolating in my mind.  The tender greens had just the faintest hint of a beet beginning to grow within the dirt and when washed, I realized that I would be eating the entire plant.  At the same time, my mother had grabbed some young Swiss chard from her neighbor who had been pleading with her to take some.  I was now picturing chard and beet greens in one salad.

My first task was to create a proper dressing.  I had a container of pepitas, or shucked pumpkin seeds, that I had been meaning to do something with.  What would happen, I wondered, if I simmered a bunch of the seeds in oil?  Would the oil take on some of their nutty flavors?  Sure enough it does and by sprinkling just a hint of curry powder in the hot oil, the result is a particularly flavorful oil.  And the best byproduct was puffed, crunchy pepitas, which would be a perfect garnish.  Then again, if you have pumpkin seed oil, you could just use that.

After tasting the seasoned oil, it seemed apparent that I wouldn’t need anything else to dress the salad with.  This would complement the greens and create a very simple, minimalist salad.  As I ate this, it dawned on me that I would have been plenty happy leaving the chard out all together and as such, the recipe reflects that change.  The beet greens, with thoroughly immature beets still attached, have an interesting earthy flavor.  When dressed with the curried-pumpkin seed oil and garnished with the fried pumpkin seeds, the nuttiness of the seeds and the earthiness of the greens provides a very refreshing salad.

The Salad

Beet Green Salad

  • 1 large bunch beet greens
  • 1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil
  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • Pinch chile powder
  • Pinch curry powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Wash beet greens and dry thoroughly.  Over medium heat, warm oil and add pepitas.  Stir regularly, so that pepitas begin to brown and just start to pop.  Stir in chile and curry powders.
  2. Using slotted spoon, transfer pepitas to paper towel to dry.  Let oil cool.  Toss beet greens with oil, add pepitas, and season with salt and pepper.
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