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Baby Beets

April 28, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Baby Beets  

Maryland farmers are turning out some of their best produce at this time of year, when the emphasis seems to be on young and tender.  It's when we see a lot of the "baby" versions of our food, and one of the more interesting is the baby beet.

What has made baby beets more interesting in recent years is the emergence of new varieties.  Aside from the usual red beets, you can find golden varieties, candy stripe, the similar red and white bulls eye chioggia, and the pale white blancoma.

We all peel full sized beets, which is a somewhat messy process... do over your sink!  The prospect of peeling raw baby beets is daunting, so follow this advice from Jerry.

                Roasting Baby Beets

Scrub them well under warm running water to remove any dirt. Cut the greens off approximately one inch above the top of the best any remove the bottom root if it is very long.

Toss them in a little olive oil. Wrap them in aluminum foil, place them on a baking sheet and roast them in a 350F oven until fork tender. About 45 minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.

Once cool, rub the skin off with your fingers. You may also use a paring knife it the skin doesn't come off easily.

                Pickled Baby Beets

1 lb. roasted baby beets, cut in half
5 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthwise.
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 small hot chili pepper cut in half lengthwise (optional)

In a nonreactive sauce pan set over medium-high heat, bring all the ingredients except the beets to a boil. Add the beats. Once the liquids returns to a boil, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Store the beets in the liquid in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.