It was really only a handful of years ago when I learned beets don't come from a can in that lovely shade of neon purple. You've seen them at salad bars, shredded and soggy next to the baby corns and greasy croutons. I discovered that this rooted vegetable was easy to roast, and it felt so 'pioneer' of me to figure my way to the tender sweetness through the mass of tangled greens and nubby, hairy exterior. If you can bake a potato, you can roast a beet.
I know that people either love or hate beets. Same goes for horseradish, so I am not expecting this recipe to appeal to the masses. I find that with whole milk yogurt, the horseradish is not too strong amongst all the other vegetables. The layers are attractively bitter, spicy and there is the expected earthiness that beets bring. When I actually host the dinner parties that I dream of, this will be on the menu. I think colorful, fresh food plated vertically, looks beautiful. If my guests don't like it, please push your plate my way thank you very much.
DECONSTRUCTED BEET STACK // Serves 4 as a side
I think this would make a wonderful complete meal with some thin slices of lox or smoked tofu between the layers, or maybe a poached egg on top. Note that our pictures show a regular navel orange, though I highly recommend the color contrast of a blood orange here. I didn't want to go back to the store.
3 Golden Beets (larger ones, as close to the same size possible)
1 Blood Orange
1 Cup Watercress
1/2 Cup Thin Slices of Red Onion
1 Cup Whole/Lowfat Plain Yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp. Prepared Horseradish*
2 Tbsp. Champagne/Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. Agave Nectar
2 Tbsp. Fresh Chives
Pinch of Salt
*Prepared horseradish is different that 'horseradish cream' at the grocery store. If you don't like the taste of horseradish, an alternative suggestion would be to mince a shallot and add some extra white pepper for a bit of spice.
Oven to 425'
1. Cut off the beet greens close to the actual beet part. Give the beets a few pokes with a fork and wrap completely in foil. Bake for an hour, depending on the size of the beet. It feels similar to a baked potato when done.
2. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, horseradish, vinegar, agave and pinch of salt. Add the chives and set aside.
3. Cut the skin and pith from the orange, and slice into max 1/4'' thick coins.
4. When the beets are done, set aside until they are cool enough to handle. With a paring knife, peel off the skin gently as they can get slippery. Slice the beets into max 1/4'' thick coins, just like the orange.
5. To assemble, put a dollop of sauce on the bottom of the plate, then a beet with another dollop of sauce, then a few leaves of watercress and a slice of orange and a dollop on top of that. Repeat: beet, dollop, watercress, orange, watercress, dollop to however high you'd like your stack to go. Scatter the slices of red onion and if you'd like, maybe some toasted walnuts around the plate. Top the stack with a dollop of sauce and a grind of fresh pepper. Note that the pretty presentation is quickly demolished once you start cutting into it :)