Last week guest chef Randal Smathers and I presented this dish at an Everyday Chef cooking demo. It is essentially a Caprese Salad (mozzarella, tomato and basil) but with the tomatoes replaced by beets. And it works very well. As Randal noted, a good dish has a mix of flavors. The sweetness of the beets partners well with the bitterness of greens, sourness of the vinegar, and umaminess (earthiness/meatiness) of the mozzarella.
Don’t forget to save the beet greens! Here are some ideas for how to use them.
- 2 medium beets
- 4 oz. fresh mozzarella
- 3 cups mesclun or other bitter greens
- Fresh basil leaf
- 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Black pepper
- Optional garnishes: Blueberries, raw or cooked onion, grilled meats.
Take off the tops and root stems from the beets; boil in lightly salted water for 10-15 minutes until fork tender, then cool in an ice bath or under running tap water. Scrape the loosened skin with a paring knife or simply slide the skins off.
Slice the beets and mozzarella, taking care to keep them separate. Shred the basil leaf.
Arrange the greens on a plate. Top with the sliced beets and cheese, garnish with basil and any optional garnishes, drizzle with oil and vinegar and a grind of black pepper, and serve with flatbread.
- Add grilled meat (chicken, beef or lamb); serve the salad on top of the flatbread.
- If you’re using a home-baked flatbread, put the half the sliced beets, cheese, basil and onion on the flatbread before baking; serve the greens on the flatbread and use the other half of the “toppings” as garnishes.