So, first of all, we hope you managed to have a happy Christmas in spite of any weather issues you may have experienced. We here on the East Coast had…not the worst of times, but it was not the best-managed of times, at least by the transit powers that be, and I think we could all use a little seasonal-appropriate foods that aren’t leaden down in heavy foods.
Continuing in our theme of “la-la, Winter, you can’t get us down” that began with a look back to sunnier and warmer days some days ago we have a brunch that is actually seasonally appropriate (do you want to roast beets in the middle of summer? I don’t think so!) but is not nearly as heavy as other fare served this time of year. In fact, it’s an excellent appetizer to serve at this time of year, as the reddish-purplish beets and the green parsley make for a refreshing-yet-festive addition to the holiday table, even after Christmas.
But first on the migas and fried eggs: when we made them the night before, The Book of Tapas suggested that they would go with a fried egg on top; when we realized we had enough leftover to divide between the two of us, Michael immediately latched on the idea of serving a fried egg or two on each of our plates for brunch. You may be shocked to find this out, but fried bread, chorizo, bacon and eggs go smashingly well together. Who knew?
(I hope my sarcasm is coming through on that last bit…Bueller? Bueller?)
I want to share the roasted beet tapa recipe with you today because it’s easily the best way to introduce someone to the vegetable: the Valdeón lends creaminess to the beets, the walnuts some crunch, and the rice wine vinegar the perfect amount of gentle acidity. It’s from our eternal favorite The Barcelona Wine Bar Cookbook, and each forkful of the dish gives you a perfect bite of creaminess, crunch and sweet tart. It’s the perfect dish to serve to friend who might appreciate a reprieve from the heavy dishes being offered them (especially if they are on the East Coast) yet it’s perfectly suitable for this frosty time of year.
See it as a sort of bridge between the rich foods of the holiday season and the austere foods of January. And enjoy every bite.
Roasted Beets with Valdeón and Toasted Walnuts
adapted from The Barcelona Wine Bar Cookbook, serves 2
- 1 1/2 lbs beets, tops removed
- 2 TB rice vinegar (enough to coat)
- 1/8 lb Valdeón or Cabrales blue cheese
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Sea Salt
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the beets into aluminum foil packets large enough to hold 2 at a time, wrap securely, and place in the middle of the oven and roast for 1.5 hours or until fork-tender. Remove from the oven and give the beets time to cool in their packets before handling. Using a paper towel, scrub the skin off of the beets (this will get messy) and dice the beets roughly before placing in a bowl. Toss them with enough rice vinegar to coat evenly, then cover and place in the refrigerator to cool for a few hours to overnight.
Arrange them onto a serving platter, crumble Valdeón cheese over top along with the walnuts and parsley, and finish with sea salt and serve immediately.