I bought these beets because, well, they are quite naturally stunning, don’t you think?  A vibrant mosaic of  color — the varying shades of red, pink, and yellow pop off the plate.  No specific plan was on the horizon for these beets, so I stuffed them in the fridge and forgot about them.  While aesthetically pleasing, beets are not high on my list, but they’re slowly winning me over.

Two weeks later, I rediscovered the beets in the back of the fridge and started to brainstorm.  What does one do with beets other than the obvious?  When in doubt, keep things simple.  In this case, a Caprese salad of sorts came to mind — burrata, in lieu of standard mozzarella.  Beets and burrata go hand and hand.  They just do.  Burrata, a fresh Italian cheese, basically mozzarella with added cream — creamy and luscious.

Also added a few strips of crispy Serrano ham (always a welcome addition in my book).  Or, as an alternative, a few [Marcona] almonds sprinkled on top would give the salad a nice crunch — a trip to Italy and Spain on a plate.

Lastly, finished the salad with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil and white wine [balsamic] vinegar, and salt and pepper.  Simple, but not boring, and a good way to disguise, I mean incorporate beets.

Beets, Burrata, Caprese Salad

4-6 small beets (an assortment of yellow, red, and chioggia)
2 medium heirloom tomatoes (such as green and red zebras), sliced into wedges
handful of baby arugula
handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
White wine vinegar (a white balsamic vinegar would also be nice)
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
A few slices Serrano ham, crisped in a hot skillet with a little olive oil, a few minutes per side.

Roasting the beets: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the whole beets in a small roasting pan and add 1/4 inch of water.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 1 hour, until the beets are tender.  Slice 1/2-inch thick.

Assembling the salad: Place the sliced beets and tomatoes on a plate.  Top with burrata, baby arugula, and basil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil and vinegar.  Place strips of crispy serrano ham on top.

Had some leftover burrata (which has a pretty short shelf life).  Hmm, what to do with the leftover burrata?  A grilled flatbread came to mind.  A bit of a breakfast/brunch flatbread with smoked salmon, chermoula (more on this in a bit), red onion, tomatoes, arugula, and, of course, burrata (or a creamy goat cheese/chevre would be a suitable substitute) came together in my mind — a twist on bagels and lox.

Chermoula, a Moroccan marinade traditionally used to flavor fish.  It’s bright and assertive with herbaceous and citrusy notes, which stands up well to fish.  Chermoula also pairs well with grilled vegetables, grilled meat, grilled chicken…extremely versatile.

Added a few capers on this one..

Smoked Salmon Burrata Flat Bread

Grilled flatbread (recipe below)
Green chermoula (recipe below)
Smoked salmon
Burrata (or goat cheese)
Red onion, thinly sliced
2 small-medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
Baby arugula leaves
Capers (optional)

Heat up a grill or grill pan (I used a grill pan).

Lightly flour your work surface.  Roll one piece of dough, fairly thin (it doesn’t have to be perfectly round).

Brush the grill/grill pan lightly with oil. Grill the flatbread until lightly charred on one side, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the flatbread and grill another 2 to 3 minutes longer.  Remove from the heat.  Add desired toppings and serve warm.

Flatbread Dough

Makes 4 flat breads

2 1/4 cups (~10 ounces) flour (used 8 ounces 00 or all-purpose and 2 ounces whole wheat)
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) cold water

Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast.  Stir in the water and olive oil (if using).  With a wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients together until it forms a ball.  Mix for about 5 to 7 minutes until all ingredients are evenly distributed.  The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky.

Mist the dough with oil and cover with plastic.

The next step is letting the dough rise.  Typically, I let the dough rise for three hours at room temperature. You can also refrigerate overnight to rest the dough (it can keep up to three days in the refrigerator); remove from the fridge and let the dough come to room temperature.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces.

Green Chermoula

1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup parsley leaves
4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon toasted ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cayenne pepper to taste

Chop the cilantro and parsley as fine as possible.  Mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle until pasty.  Combine the chopped cilantro, parsley, garlic, and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.  Mix to incorporate.

Alternatively, toss cilantro and parsley in a food processor until finely chopped, then add the rest of the ingredients and process until well combined.

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