It’s officially fall. There, I said it. Autumn is my favorite season so I shouldn’t mourn summer too long (other than occasionally complaining about the fleeting natural light and apologizing for the havoc that wreaks on my pictures.) One thing that helps move the transition from summer to fall more easily? Fall foods.
Like beets. I can’t help but love them. I love how their sweetness pairs so nicely with something tangy and slightly acidic. I love how the green tops are like another vegetable all on their own, making me feel like I get more than my money’s worth when I use them. I love how beautiful beets and their greens are with vibrant red, magenta pink and yellow colors, especially when roasted slices of beets get shiny and translucent, resembling stained glass.
I also love finding new ways to use beets— take this pizza for example. This pizza was inspired by a menu at a bar that John and I visit when we go on day trips to Bainbridge Island. It’s a vintage looking building, reminiscent of a New England seaside hotel, located in the downtown area with a veranda overlooking the street. The menu offers a pizza with roasted red beets, blue cheese and spinach. As delicious as that pizza sounds, we’re usually there for drinks and a light snack, well, if you’ll believe me that mini corn dogs are light. So I made a mental note to try making a similar pizza at home where there are no mini corn dogs to distract me.
I roasted some yellow beets and sliced them for the topping. Instead of spinach, I decided to put the beet greens to good use and sautéed them in olive oil with some garlic and red pepper flakes. I also took the liberty to add some bacon and walnuts for crunch and little dollops of chevre for some slightly sour tang to pair with the beets. Crispy pizza dough, sweet beets, peppery greens, buttery walnuts, and creamy goat cheese– fall has never tasted so good.
- 4 small yellow beets, scrubbed clean and greens removed and chopped
- 3-4 springs fresh thyme
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, smashed
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 ball pizza dough
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 pieces thick cut bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/4 inch thick pieces
- 2 oz chevre
- 1/4 cup toasted walnut halves, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Tear a piece of aluminum foil, about 20 inches long and fold in half. Split beets in half lengthwise and place them cut side up on the foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper on top. Place springs on top of beets and wrap tightly in foil. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until beets are fork tender. Carefully open the foil packet as there will be a lot of hot steam. Let the beets cool enough to touch before peeling off the beet skins and slicing beets lengthwise, about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside until ready to use.
Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of a large skillet and add the smashed garlic clove. Heat over medium heat. Toast the garlic clove in the oil until golden brown on both sides then discard. Add the chopped greens and red pepper flakes. Cook until greens have wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. To assemble pizza, roll out pizza dough to 16 inches in diameter. Place dough on pizza stone and brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake for 5-6 minutes or until cheese melts. Distribute greens on top of melted cheese then add the beet slices. Top the beets with slices of bacon and return to the oven to bake for another 15 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Remove from oven and top with pieces of goat cheese and walnuts before cutting into wedges and serving.
CSA Count: 2
Beets with their green tops, garlic
Garden Count: 1