Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bodacious Beets and Beet Green Pizza

Beets are so underrated. There are tons of recipes using beets in salads but so often when I talk about my love of beets people will look at me like I’m crazy. Maybe they’re just under rated where I live. Maybe in the Metro cities more people are accepting of this root vegetable. Or maybe I feel this way because I truly started to really appreciate them last year so I think everyone else should too. Either way, find a way to bring beets into your life and onto your plate.

As beets are growing it is so wonderful to run outside, clip off some leaves and make a simple side of wilted beet greens. Wilted beet greens sautéed with a little bit of crushed red pepper and garlic make a WONDERFUL pizza topping!

Most of the recipes that you’ll find out there using beets in salads will have you roast the beets, de-skin and slice to go with fresh arugula or grapefruit slivers or fresh feta cheese. Lots of combinations can be discovered because quite frankly they are all pretty tasty. I love to make pickled beets too.

Last year I didn’t have a ton of luck growing my own beets because I planted the seeds too close and I didn’t thin the seedlings enough. It is really important to allow each plant enough room to grow a 2-3 inch round root. Obviously, when you thin beets it is a perfect opportunity to use the tops in a baby green salad or if the leaves are large enough an impromptu wilted green burrito. This year I started with a few rows that I planted on March 1st. Then I planted a few more rows in April and then again in May so I could ensure a continuous crop.

Beet Green Pizza

1 recipe of pizza dough (click to go to previously posted recipe for the dough)
3/4 - 1 pound of provolone cheese depending on cheeseness preference (I prefer Boar's Head brand cheese)
1 1/2 pound of beet green leaves
1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce
1 tsp of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic - thinly sliced
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a saute pan with the olive oil and crushed red peppers. Stack the beet green leaves on top of each other and cut into roughly cut slices. Add the greens to the skillet and saute just until the greens are wilted. Remove from heat.

Sprinkle a pizza stone lightly with cornmeal. Roll out the dough to the size of your stone and place on top. Spread the pizza sauce, evenly distribute the greens and top with cheese. Cook in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. (Check frequently because ovens can vary quite a bit.

Enjoy a healthy, delicious pizza!

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