Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'll Eat Those Beet Greens!

I don't usually bother to eat beet greens. By the time the poor things have been yanked out of the ground, bundled together, stuffed in a box and then jammed into a display, not to mention manhandled by various shoppers looking for the perfect roots, the poor greens always seem to be so mangled and tired that they just don't inspire any culinary visions. But beets harvested fresh from your own garden and lovingly cleaned have greens that inspire more than just a trip to the worm bin. The greens that were attached to the beets that I used for the Warm Chioggia Beet and Apple Salad were too beautiful not to use.

After washing and removing the stems I had a little over one pound of greens. I decided to use them to make a savory galette, something sort of a cross between a quiche and a pizza. One thing I love about galettes, either savory or sweet, is that the crust that you worked so hard to make comes out crisp and flaky top and bottom. When making a galette it is important that the filling not be too moist since the tart has nothing to support the sides and excess moisture would just run all over the oven and too much moisture makes the bottom soggy. The Chioggia beet greens came out very soft and mild tasting, not at all "beety".

Beet Greens Galette

1 pound washed and destemmed beet greens
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound sweet onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, separated
1/4 cup creme fraiche or cream
nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste
2 ounces grated Gruyere
short pastry dough for a single crust

Put the wet beet greens in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted. Transfer to a colander to drain and cool.

Wipe out the pan and return to the heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion just starts to turn golden.

While the onion is cooking, squeeze the beet greens by the fistful to remove excess moisture. Coarsely chop the greens. Once the onion has turned slightly golden, add the chopped greens and stir to mix for a couple minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. There should be no moisture pooled in the pan.

Mix together the creme fraiche, egg yolk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. When the onion and greens mixture has cooled, stir them into the creme fraiche mixture.

Roll the pastry dough into a 14-inch circle. Put the sheet of dough on a piece of parchment paper or a greased unrimmed baking sheet. Spread the greens mixture in the center of the circle leaving about 2 inches of dough uncovered all around. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the greens. Pull the edges of the dough up over the filling letting the dough fall into casual pleats. Lightly beat the egg white and brush the top of the dough with it. Bake the galette in a 450F oven for about 30 minutes. I like to bake it on the parchment paper set on a pizza stone on the floor of the oven, and then for another 10 minutes higher in the oven to brown the top. That's what works in my weird oven, but it should bake just fine on a baking sheet or pizza stone set in the middle of a less idiosyncratic oven.


  1. This looks delicious! And you're quite right - beet greens are too good to throw on the compost heap. We use rainbow chard, which is a type of spinach beet, for a similar recipe. We sometimes make it without the pastry, too, with a bit more egg, and this makes a kind of tortilla. Bon appetit!

  2. OH man, how much do I wish someone would cook that for me tonight! I'm doing a different green thing, though - kind of like "Bathing Rama" only with collards instead of spinach and almond butter for the sauce instead of peanut. Served over udon nooodles on a platter, it looks kinda fancy. Not as fancy as your galette, though! I resolve in 2009 to try that recipe! Happy New Year.

  3. Chaiselongue, the tortilla type thing sounds great, and a lot less work. Is it baked or just cooked in a saute pan? Doesn't sound as eggy as a frittata.

    I've never heard of "Bathing Rama", but what you're making sounds really good. Too bad we can't do a potluck!

  4. Truthfully? I'll eat anything wrapped in pastry, even greens! ;-)

    Happy new year!


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