Last weekend was one of my favorite holidays-Passover. Something about Passover just immediately brings me back to my childhood. All it takes is the smell of chicken soup simmering away on the stove or the pungent smell of horseradish and I am instantly transported back to my home in Western Massachusetts where I can envision a mini-version of myself, wearing one of my nicest dresses, setting the dinner table before the seder. Since I graduated from college, I have made it a point to cook a Passover dinner every year that I have been in Boston (except last year when I was interviewing all over the country) and every year I cook almost the same menu: brisket, matzoh ball soup, and chocolate flourless cake from the April 2006 issue of Bon Appetite magazine. Each year I refine the dishes a little more and try to add something new to the dinner. A few years ago I invented chocolate covered matzoh ice cream which was such a hit, I have made it again every year since then! This year I added in a ribbon of the hot fudge from the hot fudge thumbprints I made earlier this month. Other recipes such as the charoset ice cream with Manischevitz sauce were not as well received.
This year, I wanted to add some color and vegetables to the table so I set out to make my first beet dish ever! I actually didn’t really like beets until a few years ago which is probably why I never learned to make them. However, after repeatedly trying them they found their way into my heart and I realized that their earthy taste eventually gave way into a sweetness that paired perfectly with tart and creamy flavors (like goat cheese or yogurt). I decided to get creative with my roasted beets and created multiple components to add varied textures and flavors to the beets.
In full disclosure, I hadn’t planned on posting the recipe on my blog. However, after multiple people requested the recipe after seeing the photos that I posted, I racked my brain for the ingredients and proportions and below is what I came up with. Therefore, if you make it, taste is as you go (as you always should) and adjust as necessary!
Roasted Beets with Pistachio Beet Green Pesto, Honey Yogurt, and Blood Orange Vinaigrette
(serves 6-8 people)
8-10 medium sized beets of varying color
Pistachio beet green pesto:
1/4 cup pistachios (plus more to top the final dish)
1/2 cup packed chopped beet green leaves
1 small piece of garlic
1/4 cup of oil
Blood orange vinaigrette:
2 blood oranges
1 Tbs honey
1/4 cup olive oil
10 oz (2 small containers) greek yogurt
2 Tbs honey
For the roasted beets: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub beets with olive oil and salt. Wrap beets of same color together in foil packets so they are sealed. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 45-60 minutes until they are fork tender. Cool for 10 minutes and then run under cool water and remove the skins. Cut into 4-6 wedges depending on the size of the beets.
For the pesto: Place first 3 ingredients in a mini food processor. Slowly add oil until pesto is of a consistency that can be easily drizzles over the beets. Season with salt.
For the vinaigrette: Supreme or slice the blood oranges. Reserve any juice that accumulated while cutting and then squeeze the remnants of the oranges to get more juice. Whisk in honey, olive oil and salt.
Honey yogurt: Mix honey and yogurt together.
Assembly. Spoon yogurt as the first layer on a large plate. Drizzle with a few spoonfuls of pesto. Top with the cut beets and blood orange segments/slices. Top with a few more spoonfuls of drizzled pesto. Spoon the vinaigrette over the beets. Top with chopped, toasted pistachios if desired and herbs such as parsley or dill (if desired).