By Freya Bellin
In the spirit of Mark’s recent spread on the wonders of the food processor, I thought I’d take a pass at this beet tartare. The end result wasn’t what I had expected, but that, of course, doesn’t mean it wasn’t delicious. I found it to be less of a tartare and more of a bright, refreshing raw vegetable salad. The vibrant beet colors make it perfect for entertaining, and it’s a no-cook recipe to boot. I made one batch with golden beets and dill, and another with red beets and chives, both for color contrast and taste comparison.
My preference was for the golden batch; golden beets have a mellower flavor than their red counterparts, which allowed the flavors of the other ingredients to come through a bit more. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the dish tasted even better on day two. I’m attributing that to the lemon juice, which had a chance to soften the beets overnight and let the flavors really soak in. For an impressive presentation, scoop some tartare onto endive leaves, or just serve it in a bowl with a side of hearty crackers. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
Makes: 4 to 8 servings
Time: 30 minutes
I first learned about beet tartare—just love the name—from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who uses roasted beets. I’ve eliminated that step and use raw beets. You can serve the dish as you would traditionally serve beef tartare: with chopped hard-boiled egg, onions, cornichons, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, or even a crumbling of strong blue cheese, like Stilton or Roquefort. You can have a bit of fun with color here: make one batch with golden beets and another with red—serve them side by side for a spectacular presentation.
2 pounds red or yellow beets (about 4 large), peeled
1⁄4 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon olive oil, or more as needed
1 to 2 tablespoons grated horseradish, or to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more as needed
1 tablespoon chopped capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, tarragon, or chives
Salt and black pepper
8 slices whole grain bread, 2 small heads endive, or crackers, for serving
1. Cut the beets into quarters and put them in a food processor; pulse the beets until they’re ground up into small pieces—about the size of grains of rice—careful not to overprocess. If you don’t have a food processor, grate the beets instead. If the beets release a lot of liquid, squeeze them gently with your hands or drain them on paper towels to remove some of the moisture.
2. Combine the onion, oil, horseradish, lemon juice, capers, and herbs together in a bowl large enough to hold the beets. Fold in the beets and sprinkle with salt and pepper; taste and add more lemon juice, oil, or seasoning if needed. If you like, chill quickly in the freezer or refrigerate for up to a day.
3. Toast the bread and cut each slice diagonally into 4 toast points. (Or separate and trim the endive into leaves.) Serve the tartare cold or at room temperature with the toast points, spooned into endive leaves, or in a bowl next to crackers.