We have an abundance of heirloom beets in the garden this month and we love to roast them with potatoes and carrots and also juice them in the mornings with carrot and cucumber. I was inspired to make something new with them and this raw carpaccio preparation did not disappoint. I love the flavor of pungent pickled beets so though a quick sweet and sour pickle of these paper thin slices would give this dish a nice agrodolce quality, not overly tart with a bit of maple to bring out the beets own inherent earthy sweetness. I've had and made raw beet ravioli with raw nut cheese and thought a mixed raw nut lemon ricotta would pair nicely atop this salad. A little drizzle of your best extra virgin olive and aged balsamic, a sprinkle of Cyprus flake salt and black pepper, fresh basil and a light dusting of lemon zest bring the whole thing together nicely. Bright and refreshing, this carpaccio makes a lovely summer side or starter with any meal. You can also spread a little of the nut ricotta and a basil leaf on each slice of beet and then roll it up with a toothpick for hors d'oeuvres.
Quick Pickled Beets:
2 large round beets
1 3/4 cup water
1 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp kosher sea salt
2 flowering dill heads (1 if large)
1 Tbs fresh rosemary
1 Tbs fresh parsley
1 Tbs fresh fennel
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
Raw Nut Ricotta:
1 cup mixed raw nuts-i used a combo of cashew, macadamia and walnut. (If you're nut-free you can use sunflower and pumpkin seeds)
3 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs water
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
pinch of kosher sea salt
pinch of black pepper
Good quality Extra virgin olive oil
Good quality Aged Balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil leaves
Cyprus flake sea salt or fine quality salt of your choice
Fresh cracked black pepper
Cover nuts with cold water and soak for anywhere from 2 hours to 24 hours.
Use a mandolin to slice beets into consistent paper thin rounds. If you don't have a mandolin you can use a sharp cooks knife and slice them as thin as you can. A mandolin is a good tool to have for slicing anything thinly and you can make zucchini noodles with it too. In a sauce pan add water first then vinegar ("do what you oughta, add vinegar to wata"), salt, herbs and spices and bring to a boil, simmer covered for 5 minutes. Place beets into a bowl and pour brine over beets through a sieve. Cover bowl and let sit for 1/2 hour.
Strain off water from soaked nuts-you should have about 1 1/2 cups of nuts now. In a blender (a food processor will work too but texture will not be as smooth) add soaked nuts, lemon juice, water, olive oil, salt and pepper and blend on high until smooth and creamy in consistency.
Remove beets from brine and arrange in an overlapping pattern on a platter. Top with dollops of the nut ricotta and fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic and sprinkle salt, pepper and lemon zest all over the dish. Can be served at room temperature or refrigerated and served cold. You can prepare each component ahead of time then refrigerate and assemble later. Each component should keep refrigerated for a few days.