La Festa al Fresco (I love saying that--horrid accent et al) celebrates the end of summer with a bloggy potluck with all guests (and crashers) supplying just one dish that features one fresh ingredient.
I must admit that I find potlucks, at once, liberating and frightening. Liberating because I'm not the one soley in charge of feeding the ravenous hordes (okay, yes, I do like cooking for a crowd, but still). Frightening because there's a deep-down worry that everyone will bring the same dish, or platters of spray-cheezed crackers...or worse, everyone brings platters of spray-cheezed crackers...yeah, when I organize pot lucks (or cookie exchanges), it's a pretty organized event with limits as to the numbers of variations on a theme...
I don't expect this group to provide a plethora of the foresaid dreaded platter...unless of course, people brought home-made or artisinal cheese served on freshly baked crackers or melba toasts...now THAT would be good.
So, with invitation in hand, I thought about what could I possibly bring. I received the invitation at the same time I was perusing Easy Summer Food for Canada Eats and I found what I believe to be a really good candidate for this soiree: Beetroot Hummus.
When I saw the gorgeous photo in the book, I knew I had to make it: a soft mound of puce-coloured loveliness. How could I not try it?
This recipe was a pleasant surprise for me. I fully admit to not liking boiled beetroot--too many childhood memories of my parents' garden and the mass of purpley-red tuberous veg they harvested each year. In recent years I've tried it roasted and grilled and I much prefer it (well, actually the golden ones) prepared that way.
It is ludicrously easy to make and the only time I had to turn on the stove was to cook the beets. The dip has a nice, slightly firm texture and hides a very distinctive bite (thanks to the addition of horseradish). The recipe came with a second recipe for pan-grilled bread. I decided against making the bread and opted to serve it with cucumber slices. I thought the two paired very well--clean, crisp and cooling veg with the creamy and slightly hot dip.
I took the dip to the office, where I knew beetroot lovers existed. A goodly number of people gravitated towards my filing cabinet (aka "the usual place")--those who like and dislike beets came out of the woodwork. Even those of us who aren't enamoured with the veg kept going back for more. I think that says it all.
Beetroot Hummus, from Easy Summer Food
250g cooked and peeled beetroot (about two), drained and cut into chunks
25g fresh breadcrumbs (or 50g dried)
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp grated horseradish
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste
- Puree all ingredients, except for salt and pepper, until smooth. Season to taste.
- Serve with a combination of crudite, grilled pitas or flatbread or chips.
- Pressure-cooking the beetroot makes for a quick and easy way of preparing the veg. If you really don't want to boil or pressure cook them, I suppose you could use canned beets, but be sure to rinse off the liquid.
- I used bottled, grated horseradish, but squeezed out the extra juice.
tags: Beetroot Dips La Festa al Fresco