From top to tail

I love it how at farm stands and farmers' markets, you get the whole vegetable. No one's stolen the squash seeds or the beet greens, and the carrot tops are still intact.

This week, after a trip to Crow Farm in Sandwich (which will be selling vegetables until Christmas, mind you), I made an all-beet salad. It was my version of top to tail cooking, if you will, minus the animal and the endless parade of parts.

It was easy enough to put together—I simply peeled and sliced thin the beets, chopped up the greens, and threw the whole lot into a pan hot with oil and garlic. The leaves began to wilt, the beets to soften, and at last I blew out the flame and declared them tender. With a bit of chevre on top, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, I had a hearty fall salad.

It looked like Christmas with the colors—deep, maroon beets mixed with holly-hued greens and a sprinkling of white—just the thing to whip up for a holiday party or cold weather lunch. Even once the beet greens are gone, there'll still be spinach to gather, which with its deep forest green could easily step in.

But something about using the whole beet—every last bit of it, minus the well-intentioned skin—is so satisfying that I think I wouldn't dare. Usually I wait too long on the greens, letting them sit idle in the crisper until they are wilted beyond repair. It seems fitting that instead they leave together with the beets, hand in hand without hesitation for the next.

Try the salad if you can—before the holidays set in and the bustle becomes too much—because I'm sure once you do you'll decide you want it on the table. I'm willing to bet you like it so much, in fact, that you'll want to practice at least once or twice, to get it perfect just in time. Until then, if you need any help with the leftovers—well, you know I'm always here.


Serves 4

Wash and cut the greens from 5 small beets. Dry and chop greens roughly. Boil beets for 10 to 20 minutes, or until they are slightly tender and you can slip the skins from them easily. Remove skins and slice into thin, 1/2-inch pieces. In a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat up 2 tablespoons oil. Drop in 1 clove garlic, minced, and cook 30 seconds. Add beets and greens and stir well. Let cook, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until greens are wilted but have not lost their color. Transfer into a serving dish, season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with 1 to 2 ounces chevre. Serve warm as a light main course or side salad.


Alison said...

I too, love Crow Farm and make a point of stopping there as much as I can during my summer visits to the Cape. I am looking forward to trying your recipe...I don't have much experience with beets, but I will pick some up at the farmers market this weekend! Thanks!

BTW, I am really enjoying reading your lovely blog.

Andrea said...

Yea, Crow Farm! Do you know where they are getting their veggies? Not too far of a drive for me. I would love to make my veggie holiday purchases there. What was the selection like?

Elspeth Pierson said...

They grow most of the stuff, especially this time of year as the harvest comes in. Cranberries they get locally, and honey as well. Sometimes they even have locally ground cornmeal and home made baked goods...all very good I can attest!

Alison, beets are easy. I'm sure you will be quick to master them. Just be sure they are cooked until tender, and you truly can't go wrong. Even once they start to go bad a bit and are soft, you can peel them and cook them and still enjoy a fabulous meal. Good luck!



Elspeth Pierson said...

oh, sorry Andrea! selection: we got brussel sprouts, carrots, beets, broccoli, apples, cranberries, lettuce, and cabbage. pretty good for november! they had squash, too, but not for much longer they said...

Bie said...

Elspeth, this winter salad I can go for. Sounds great.Biee


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