3.11.10 Men Who Love Beets

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Anecdotal evidence would seem to indicate that they are scarce. Beets are one of the few foods that G will not eat. Perhaps the only food. And during a recent beet-themed recipe competition on Food52, it came out that many other women's husband are also beet-shunners. Most of them, in fact. You may have heard that even the President is in this camp. There are no beets in the White House garden. Sadly, there are rarely beets in my own kitchen—despite the fact that I LOVE THEM. As a child, I was known to eat beets until I peed pink. I can't resist their intensely earthy sweetness. G thinks they taste like dirt. This got me to thinking that maybe there was some sort of Y chromosome thing involved. (Although there are undoubtedly loads of Russian men slurping down their borscht.) Anyway, it's a mystery.Beets are rich in the highly desirable B vitamin folate, plus potassium, manganese and fiber. Purple, golden or candy-striped chioggia, their antioxidant properties are numerous. For a much more thorough nutritional analysis, see here. Beets pair wonderfully with sprightly greens, with goat cheese, walnuts and citrus zest. They are often eaten with horseradish, which cuts through their thick sweetness. I love eating beets just simply roasted and dressed with sherry vinegar and walnut oil. But this recipe for a beet rösti (an Editor's Pick on Food52) is a fun way to try to fool the man in your life into eating them. I used golden beets because they more closely resemble the potatoes used in the classic Swiss rosti, a pancake that's like a crusty slab of hash browns with a slightly creamier center.
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This has a lovely bite from orange zest and fresh horseradish, and I suggest you don't forego the dollop of creme fraiche (or sour cream, or maybe Greek yoghurt if you're feeling virtuous). You can definitely substitute any beets for the golden, though as you can see from the photos, these make a gorgeous dish. Don't get all freaked out over flipping the pancake. It's a very easy technique that you can definitely manage. If it breaks, just smoosh it back together. You've seen enough Julia Child (and/or Dan Akroyd) to know that shit happens in the kitchen. GOLDEN BEET RÖSTIserves 41 1/2 pounds beets, trimmed and peeled (about 3 1/2 cups grated)2 teaspoons grated orange zest2 tablespoons finely grated fresh horseradish1 teaspoon salt1/3 cup flour (all-purpose gluten-free is fine)2 tablespoons buttercrème fraîcheGrate the beets (by hand or in a food processor). Meanwhile, heat a large, well-seasoned (or non-stick) 10-12” skillet over medium heat.Combine the grated beets in a bowl with the horseradish, orange zest, salt, and half the flour. Toss well, then add the rest of the flour and toss again.Melt the butter in the heated skillet. When it begins brown, add the beet mixture. Use a spatula to shape it into an attractive round, pressing it down firmly.Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook until the bottom is nicely browned, about 8 minutes. Give the pan a few shakes to help prevent sticking. To finish the other side, invert as you would a frittata: slide it from the pan onto a plate, top with another plate, then flip it over and slide the cake back into the pan. Cook until nicely browned, being careful not to burn.Cut into wedges and serve immediately with a dollop of crème fraîche and a few grindings of black pepper.


well i just adore this, who cares about the men! hrmph. the orange zest must go beautifully with it and horseradish must pack a bit of a punch. i love beets simply roasted with olive oil and salt. i love beets in all forms. if i were still in kindergarten i might have even written a little poem about beets. ok, shall stop here. lovely recipe. x shayma
shayma on March 11, 2010 at 11:53 am —
Did you use a processor or a box grater? They're beautiful...
Lisa on March 11, 2010 at 11:54 am —
It's not too late for the poem!!
laura on March 11, 2010 at 12:38 pm —
I used my trusty cuisinart and it was a breeze, but a box grater would also work fine.
laura on March 11, 2010 at 12:38 pm —
This looks wonderful...I love the idea and must give it a try!
Winnie on March 12, 2010 at 2:27 am —
i don't remember liking borscht as a kid, but am in moscow now and have been literally living on the stuff. funny you made this beets entry because i had meant to ask you if you have a recipe for borscht or some kind of soup with beets in it. i guess i'm one of the few men that loves them.
mike shapiro on March 12, 2010 at 4:13 am —
Yes, I've now heard there are plenty of men out there who like beets. I'm curious, is the borscht you're eating in Russia made with meat? Here is a recent recipe for meatless borscht from "nakedbeet" on Food52 that received a lot of praise: http://www.food52.com/recipes/3327_dr_zhivago_borscht. Let me know if you make it...spaseeba!
laura on March 12, 2010 at 6:04 am —
Love beets. Didn't always but developed a taste for them recently.
Jonathan Rose on March 12, 2010 at 4:32 pm —
every restaurant has a different variation. they are all meat based, though some also add potatoes, others lots of dill. i'll give the vegetarian version a try and see how it stacks up against the ones here.
mike shapiro on March 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm —