Monday, December 27, 2010

Roasted beet pizza

From this week: spinach

From weeks past: beets!, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, best whole wheat pizza crust

Staples: olive oil, garlic


I'm perplexed. I can't figure out how I feel about beets.

A few weeks ago, after my first beet debacle, I went on a tirade about how eating beets went against nature. Humans, I said, are biologically programmed to dislike foods that look or taste or feel like flesh or blood. If we weren't, it'd be cannibalistic chaos! And beets, to me, look exactly like solidified blood. Ick.

But the truth is, I think they taste pretty good. Sweet, earthy, slightly starchy. Hmmm.

I thought I should give cooking with beets a second chance - a better chance. Stewing them was a mistake. If I was turned off by the blood-like solid that is whole beets... you see where I'm going.

I decided to stack the deck in beets' favor by sneaking them in my favorite thing: pizza (I know I just made one, but this is a totally different one - variety, another awesomely logical advantage of pizza...). Nestled in a bed of mozzarella and feta cheeses, surrounded by slightly bittersweet, chewy fresh spinach, all atop a thin, crispy crust coated with garlic olive oil. How could that be bad?

It couldn't. It was delish. But I'm not sure the beets really did anything for it.

The sweetness was kinda nice against the salty cheese and garlicky oil, but I think the crust was probably sweet enough.

The color contrast was pretty, but the red stains were off-putting.

I ate 4 pieces, but by the fourth piece, I had picked all the beets off.


Roasted beet (or not) pizza
Serves 3

1 ball pizza dough (i.e. 1/2 recipe best whole wheat pizza crust)
1 small beet
3 tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
handful of fresh spinach leaves, torn
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tbsp crumbled feta cheese

Roast beet: Preheat oven to 400. Wash beet and place on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Cook for 45-90 minutes, or until a knife slides into the beet with very little resistance. Cool, peel, and slice into 1/4 inch slices.

Make garlic oil: While beet is roasting, heat olive oil and garlic in a small pan over medium low heat for 15 minutes. It's okay if the garlic sizzles, but don't let it get more then slightly toasty brown. Remove from heat and let sit until you're ready to assemble.

Assemble pizza: Preheat oven to 500. Press dough out into a 1/4 inch thin round and place on a cookie sheet (or pizza peel, if using a pizza stone). Brush round with most (about 2 tbsp) of garlic oil. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Top with beets and spinach. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and feta. Drizzle with remaining oil. Bake on cookie sheet (or slide onto pizza stone) for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned and cheese is bubbling. Let cool slightly before serving.

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