Friday, December 26, 2008

Recipe: Steamed Beets with Truffle Oil and Feta Cheese

This has become one of my favourite recipes, inspired by a meal from long-ago at Robochon in IFC Hong Kong. They served it as a beet carpaccio.

The thing about beets, is that I find a lot of Singaporeans don't eat them. Are they really such a quintessentially Western thing? My dad just assumed beet carpaccio was beef carpaccio and was quite crestfallen when they turned up, thin, red, yet distinctly un-meat-like.

When I made this version of beet carpaccio, he rather sniffed at it as "not particularly", which equals in Dad-speak that "he won't eat it", although I sold my mother on how it was so very healthy. It is, too. Healthy, full of texture, colour and essential vitamins. It has become one of my favourite things to serve at dinner parties, or bring along to pot lucks, it's easy to prepare and stores beautifully overnight.

First you have to scrape the beets free of their skin- most beets that you buy, especially at the wet market in Singapore, tend to come caked with mud so make sure you give it a through wash and scrub. Then, you want to slice them very thin (the thinner the better) and into rounds. Hehe, the thinner the beeter.

Steam them until they are floppy and soft. This can take quite awhile, especially if your steamer is like ours, huge and inefficient. Then arrange them prettily on the plate, drizzle with truffle oil, cube some feta cheese and dot with kalamata olives.

Finely shred some basil or parsley and halve a few cherry tomatoes and sprikle with broken pistachio nuts, over the beets. The basil and cheese really help to bring out the subtle taste of the beets. Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you allow this to macerate overnight, the taste becomes more concentrated.

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