“Learn to Love Beets” Pizza
Beets on Pizza? Why?
Growing up, beets were a regular item at our dinner table. Let’s just say I did not grow to be a fan. When I left home to go to college I thought: “I never have to eat beets again!” After 35+ beetless years, I decided I should really give them a try, so my 2013 new years resolution is to “give beets a chance”. Now that they have arrived in our CSA box and the farmers market, it’s time to get busy.
Since Saturday lunch is often a flatbread or pizza of some sort, I checked my favorite pizza cookbook, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5 Minutes a Day, for beets. Ta Da! Rainbow Beets Pizza. Next, I checked What to Drink with What You Eat for wine pairings with beets. Amazingly, they had several recommendations, one being Riesling. Know what? Riesling goes perfectly with beets. This is one of those times that the wine and food together are better than either alone. I couldn’t exactly figure out what it was, but something in the Riesling aroma and flavor picked out some nice elements of the beet flavor. Obviously, I’ll need to re-run this experiment.
Leitz Ein Zwei Dry Riesling 2011 ($14)
This is a nice, inexpensive German Riesling, and it is very dry! Super crisp and tart with clear Riesling fruit. Julie usually won’t even consider trying a German Riesling as they usually give the impression of at least a little sweetness. She loved this wine!
The key for the beet flatbread is that the beets aren’t the only flavor. You start with a layer of shredded sharply flavored cheese. In this case, we used Milton Creamery’s Prairie Breeze, a brick style cheddar made in neighboring Iowa. The beets, crispy crust and melted cheese all contributed unique flavor and texture and no one element dominated. For a confirmed beet-avoider, this was a surprise!
I also tried the pizza with a nice New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, also recommended in “What to Drink…”. The Sauvignon Blanc worked well, but lacked that surprise 1+1=3 combination that the Riesling provided. If you’re a big SB fan, go ahead. I’ll stick with the Riesling.
One of the joys of flatbreads is their flexibility. You can adjust components as you see fit, so feel free to adjust to your own liking. Here’s what I did
- Fist size portion of pizza dough, rolled out nice and thin
- 2 beets, pre-roasted for about 45 minutes at 350F, then cooled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup of shredded Prairie Breeze cheddar
- Drizzle of sunflower oil, pinch of salt & pepper
- Pre-heat stone on the grill at least 30 minutes
- Roll out your dough and place it on a floured pizza peel (flour works better on the grill than cornstarch)
- Spread the shredded cheese on the crust
- Layer the beets on top
- Drizzle with oil, add a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cook for 7-10 minutes on the grill. I don’t get as nice top browning on the grill as compared to the oven, but the pizza will be nicely cooked and cheese melted.
Do you have any beet recipes that might help convert a beet-avoider? Send them on and I’ll give them a try!