This Chick Swallows!

I am in love. Total and amazing love. I met my sweetie, and I do mean sweetie, about a month ago in a tiny café. The décor was retro-roadhouse: dark beams traversed the ceiling, cool black slate tiles with red veins skittled across the floor. Candles flickered, casting a soft glow throughout the room. Soft jazz from a street musician—a saxophone doing a Miles riff—wafted through the French doors.

Across the crowded room, I coyly pointed at the object of my desire. The bartender winked and nodded with sly approval. Such sophistication! I blushed and then squeeled at my honey’s passionate tumescence as I received it my wet, hungry mouth.

Oh baby, yes! I moaned, I do indeed swallow!

Let me introduce you to my love, my newfound passion: The chiogga beet.

Yes! A beet…but ohmygod, What. A. Beet. This sublime botanical creature is light years from that bloody creature, that evil biennial Beta vulgaris that comes in a can or a jar. The Chiogga? Think Ferrari. Think cool…this is the Armani of beetdom. The Chiogga is a pretty creature, its flesh sports pink and white concentric circles…when you bite into one, your palate is treated to a refined sweetened frutiness with enough peppery spunk to make anyone smile.

My first introduction to these jewels took the form of a simple but classy (and often repeated hors d’oeurve. Chilled thinly sliced discs formed a hot pink and white bed for whole pan seared anchovies drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Oh yes, Jesus, I do believe! The sweet cold crunch combined with the hot salty fish and the piquant bite of the vinegar…well, let me just say, my eyes rolled back so far in my head and the uncontrolled moaning made my husband blush.

Run to your grocery store and buy a pound or two. Really. You must. If your grocer lacks the god given good sense to stock these lovelies…start packing, because you clearly live among the uncivilized. Whoever heard of a grocery store that doesn’t carry Italian heirloom beets. Unthinkable. Seriously, these are staples at most farmers markets, and though I haven’t checked, Whole Foods probably carries them.

Here’s a nifty easy recipe:

1 lb of Chiogga beets

1 cup of crème fresh

1 peeled English cucumber chopped into cubes

½ cup of French feta crumbled

1 tbl chopped dill

Scrub the beets and place in a deep pot…cover with cold water, bring to a boil, reduce to a medium simmer for about 30 mins or until fork tender. I do this in the morning so that I can chill these guys before dinner.

When you’re ready to peel them, they’re an easy gig…no gloves necessary (like the red one which will permanently stain, i.e., RUIN your white-tipped acrylic nails…making people gasp whenever you pay for anything), the Chioggas (Chioggae?) are much lighter in color.

Dice the beet and cucumber into to roughly equal sized chunks…stir in the crème fresh, crumbled feta and the dill.

I serve this either as a salad, on a bed of field greens or as an hors d’oeurve, on a wedge of toasted pita bread.

I promise you, this is awesome.

Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 3:02 AM  Comments (3)  
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