Name: Crispy Crushed Beets with Garlic, Scallions, and Chile
- 2 pounds small to medium beets, with or without their greens
- 12 cloves garlic
- 2 moderately spicy red chiles, such as Fresnos, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) roasted, unsalted cashews, chopped
- Flaky sea salt, for finishing (optional)
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat to 425º
- If the beets have their greens, cut off the greens from the roots.
- Trim any dark spots from the top of the beets, trim off their tails, and scrub them well. Do not peel them.
- In a Dutch oven or deep skillet with a lid, combine the beet roots with the garlic, chiles, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the sea salt and toss to coat.
- Pour in the water, cover, and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the beets are very tender; a sharp knife or metal skewer should go in with barely any pressure.
- While the beets are roasting, wash and dry the leaves and stems, if using, stack them, roll them up like a cigar and thinly slice.
- Set out a stain-resistant cutting board or line one with parchment paper.
- When the beets are tender, transfer them to the board using a slotted spoon and reserve the garlic and chiles.
- Let the beets cool until you can handle them but they're still warm, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Using a small plate, gently crush the beets, one by one, to a relatively even thickness of 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Try to keep them mostly in one piece.
- In a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil until it shimmers.
- Working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, cook the beets until charred and crisp at the edges, about 3 minutes per side. Its okay if they fall apart a bit.
- As theyre done, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a platter, leaving the oil behind.
- Pour off all but a slick of oil in the skillet.
- When all the beets are ready, add the scallions and beet greens, if using, to the pan and cook, stirring, just until fragrant and the greens are wilting, about 1 minute.
- Scatter the mixture over the beets, along with the cashews and the reserved garlic and chile slices, sprinkle with flaky salt
- Serve warm.
Source: Joe Yonan, Washington Post, 2 June 2021
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