Friday, 17 June 2011

Can't be Beet!

Maiale alla Griglia su Carpaccio di Barbabietola & Fagiolini
Grilled Pork on Beetroot Carpaccio & Green Beans

You really can't beat beetroot. It is another one of those vegetables that gets neglected and unused and is I think terribly underrated. I love the sweet, earthy flavor and the nice firm texture. The only thing to remember when you prepare it though... is to make sure to wear a red shirt- or at least not a white one! But the rest is plain sailing- so get ready to set course for a great dish of wonderful flavors!

There are basically 2 main methods for preparing beetroot- you can either bake it or boil it. Baking may give you a more nuanced, flavorful result, but for this dish boiling is fine. 20 mins with a couple of bay leaves, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of sugar and couple of slices of ginger should do the trick. Just give them a good scrub and into the pot they go- we will peel them later... right now we have other things on our minds...

Pork can sometimes end up being bland in flavor and dry in texture... but it doesn't have to be that way. Mix together pineapple juice, Thai sweet chili sauce, salt, pepper, finely chopped garlic and grated ginger, add a little olive oil, and marinate your pork in this wonderful mix for an hour. By that time, the pineapple juice will have made the meat lovely and tender and it will be infused with all of those wonderful flavors and aromas and be ready to go!

So let's go and get on with our beets and beans! we are just a few small steps away from a wonderful Summer meal- let's have ourselves a little cocktail to celebrate- we deserve it!

Beets can basically either be boiled or baked. Baking tastes better in my opinion, but for this version, which is more of a lukewarm salad, the quicker method of boiling will do just fine. Boil the beets for 15-20 minutes, unpeeled, with a couple of bay leaves and a couple of slices of ginger, equal amounts of salt and sugar and the juice of half a lemon. Once the beets are boiled, rinse with cold water and set to one side. After 2-3 minutes they should be nice and easy to peel. Now slice them as thinly as you can, lay them out decoratively and sprinkle with salt, olive oil, lemon zests and thyme.

Boil the beans for 7-8 minutes and chill immediately to preserve their color and bite... nothing worse than soggy beans!

Whilst they are cooking, we can pop our pork onto a hot grill pan for 2-3 minutes on each side. The pineapple juice and sweet chili sauce will caramelize and give the meat a wonderful glaze... mmm!  

Now give the beans a light coating of olive oil, a pinch of salt and arrange them on top of the beets. Last but not least the delicious hot pork, with a drizzle of the extra marinade which has by now rendered down nicely in the pan... and dinner can be served!

A chilled, fruity "verdinho", a vino verde, would be wonderful with this, or a mellow rosé... a glass of whatever you prefer and some good company to share with- and what more could you want on a hot Summer night? Buon Apetito!

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