Beet Green Vinaigrette

Beet Greens are kind of like the little bonus crayons of the spring garden.  They are one of the first greens to be able to stand up to the chilly spring evenings– and best of all, both the beet and its greens are edible.  Beet Green Vinaigrette is a beautiful way to utilize this colorful vegetable, providing a delicious and colorful way to use the entire beet plant.

What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this.

Beet Green Vinaigrette

Hot Ingredients:

3 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 cups fresh beet greens, washed and roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup white wine

Cold Ingredients:

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring a cast iron skillet to medium heat and saute garlic in olive oil for a few minutes until fragrant.  Add white wine.  Stir in chopped beet greens and salt/pepper, cooking for several minutes until greens are wilted and wine has reduced slightly.  Allow mixture to cool.

In a blender combine white sugar, water, and vinegar.  Add cooled beet mixture and pulse until mixture reaches a chunky puree.  Chill and refrigerate for up to several days.

Now, in  pictures 🙂

Beet greens are an interesting creature.  They are one of the first things you see in the garden– their fiery, vibrant foliage piercing the earth with beauty long before anything else is able to withstand the cold spring evening temperatures.  Beets have always been a favorite vegetable of mine– they honestly taste like the earth, itself.  They have a warmth to them that truly enables you to taste the minerals in the soil unique to where they were grown, much like wine or coffee.  You can get tasting notes of the land in the vegetable, almost as if it had preserved local sunshine into a taste just for you.  It’s just too cool.

Beet greens, on the other hand, are a little more of an acquired taste.  They don’t taste like beets, exactly, but they do share that similar “earthiness,” albeit with a little bite of bitterness that is mostly removed through cooking.  They manage to hold onto their electrifyingly beautiful colors, though, even when cooked– which makes them perfect for a vibrant vinaigrette to match the first, peppery greens of the spring.

We will start by masking some of the bitterness of the greens.  Because let’s face it– no one likes bitter.  Bitter looks bad on your evil Aunt Mildred who pinches your cheeks extra hard at family reunions and asks WHY AREN’T YOU MARRIED YET?????  Bitter looks bad in salads.  Cook bitter away.  Well.  Don’t cook Aunt Mildred away.  But cook the bitterness of beet greens away.  I don’t think there’s any helping Aunt Mildred.

Start out by heating up your cast iron skillet.  Saute your garlic in the olive oil.  Inhale deeply and pretend you are on the Food Network.  Smile for the camera and sign an autograph.  Sell your autograph to yourself and get rich.  Compliment yourself on being so smart.

After your garlic has simmered for a minute or two, add your white wine.  A little cloud of loveliness will mist up out of the pan.  Your kitchen will smell amazing.  The smells are free.  You should open the windows and let the scent drift out to your starving neighbors.  Prepare to sell more autographs.

Because you are a brilliant genius, you have already washed and roughly chopped your beet greens.  It’s ok if you get a little bit of the stem.  Add everything to your skillet.  No, by everything I do NOT mean to add bitter old Aunt Mildred to your skillet!  Goodness.  What am I going to do with you?

So AHEM.  Add all your hot ingredients EXCEPT evil Aunt Mildred (*hairy eyeball*) to the skillet.  That means you have olive oil, garlic, white wine, beet greens, and salt/pepper in there.  Get yourself a pepper grinder.  You can feel like a chef cracking a few fresh grinds in there.  Get a really big one so that you can hit intruders over the head with it.

Stir and allow everything to start cooking.  You don’t want to cook the life out of the greens– just wilt them a little bit.  Luckily they hold onto their color even when cooked, so your salad dressing will be gorgeous just like you.  You’re welcome.

Cook those babies down a bit.  You don’t want them absolutely pulverized– just wilted.  If you taste one the bitterness should be mostly gone.  See?  That’s perfect.  You’re so smart.  I love working with you.

Beet Green Vinaigrette

Next put your cold ingredients into a blender.  Add in your cooled down beet mixture.  Give that baby a whirl around the dance floor.

Beet Green Vinaigrette

Ooooohhhh it’s so pretttttttyyyyyyyyy.  I like to leave mine a little bit chunky so that you can see the vibrant red and green, rather than just getting baby food.  But you are the boss your kitchen so go your own way on that one.

Beet Green Vinaigrette

Drizzle this gorgeous vinaigrette over your favorite spring green salad.  The finished dressing has the earthiness of the beet greens, with a little acid from the vinegar and a touch of sweetness from the sugar.  And of course, the beauty of the finished product is just an added bonus.

Beet Green Vinaigrette

The dressing will keep for several days in the fridge.  But chances are, it won’t last that long.

Because you did it. And I’m just so proud of you.


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