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Beets and their Greens with Marjoram Pesto

15 April

2-3 spring onions, thinly sliced into rounds
white wine vinegar
12 beets, including greens
olive oil
sea salt
marjoram pesto with capers and olives (recipe follows)

1. Toss the onions with the vinegar nearly to cover and refrigerate until needed. They will turn bright pink.
2. Discard beet stems and any wilted leaves. Wash the rest of the greens and steam until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside to drain then chop coarsely. Toss with a little olive oil and salt.
3. Leaving an inch of the stems and the tails on the beets, steam until a knife pierces them easily, about 25 minutes. Slip off the skins. Trim the tops and the tails, quarter and sprinkle with a little vinegar.
4. Make the pesto, setting aside half the toasted pine nuts as garnish. Toss the beets with the pesto, leaving ample streaks throughout. Place dressed beets over the greens. Remove the onions from the vinegar and strew them over the beets. Garnish with the reserved pine nuts and serve.

Marjoram Pesto

1 small slice country bread
2 tablespoons aged red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup marjoram leaves
3 tablespoon drained capers
½ cup pine nuts
1 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons pitted Greek olives
½ cup olive oil

1. Remove the crust from the bread then soak it in the vinegar on a plate.
2. Pound the garlic with ½ teaspoon salt in a mortar and pestle until smooth then work in the marjoram, capers, pine nuts, parsley, and olives until you have a smooth paste.  Add the bread and the olive oil and work until the pesto is well amalgamated. Season with salt and pepper, taste for vinegar, and add a little more if you think it needs it. The pesto should be very thick.

Serves 4

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