Friday, August 5, 2011
Harvest on the Table ~ Beet Greens and Pasta
Friends, I have a confession: I've never used my beet greens for anything. I am usually amused when I see lowly beet greens mixed in with other lettuces in salads at fancy restaurants. Really? Beet leaves? My mom used beet leaves to make a variation of pyrizhky, also known as beetnik buns - pinch off a small piece of bread dough, wrap a beet leaf around it, so that it's a small oblong shape like a cabbage roll, bake, and serve with warm dilled cream and fried onions. I never liked beetnik buns. So, each spring I seed my rows of beets and once the plants are a few inches tall, I thin them out. The beet leaves go in the compost bin. Yup.
This year I decided to try something different. What if I let my beets grow a bit more before thinning them out, and then use the thinned ones for the greens? But what to do with them besides throw them in a salad?
I found a recipe for cooked beet greens at simplyrecipes.com. Scrolling through the reviews, I saw that most people praised it highly, and some offered further suggestions. One reviewer suggested mixing the cooked greens with pasta, for a sort of warm pasta salad. Sounded like a plan.
It took me a few bites to figure out what I thought. I added in an extra 1/4 tsp of dried red pepper, so there is a nice little punch. Overall, it is very good, but I think it could be "better" - from the perspective of someone who grew up on Ukrainian cooking, anyway. I think the next time I make this, I will skip the sugar and the vinegar all together. Beets + dough + bacon + onions is a very basic Ukrainian flavour combination. Heh. This could be Lazy Beetnik Buns.