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Nov 13, 2012

Eddo with Beets and Shaved Hazelnut

In the last few months I’ve been reading the first two books of Modernist Cuisine on the train to and from work. To my opinion, it’s the very best book on cooking science currently available. At first the 20kg heavy cyclopedia might seem pretty expensive, but if you consider that it actually contains all the knowledge from your complete bookshelf, it’s quite a bargain. What I also like in the book is that it goes very much into detail on the science behind food and cooking techniques, but everything is explained in n easily readable and comprehensible way.

The chapter on cooking techniques and utensils in the second book was so inspiring to me, that I tidied up my kitchen and preserved some space for new kitchen equipment. One of the kitchen tools I acquired recently was a microwave. Yes, a microwave, the one and only kitchen tool that has been neglected in the past decades by several professional cooks. Only recently cooks started to use microwaves due to some of its unique applications. From a culinary perspective, a microwave has a lot more to offer. I read about these possibilities in the second book of Modernist Cuisine and I’ll feature each one of them in a post on my blog in the future. First I start with the simplest basic recipe, which is based on a recipe by the famous and well renowned chef Thomas Keller.

Eddo with Beets and Shaved Hazelnut

Microwave ovens aren’t designed only to (re)heat (wet) food, but it also dries several kinds of foods pretty quickly. For example many different vegetables can be turned into intense colored and flavored powders within only 30 minutes. The reipe is very simple and straightforward: You can use the dry pulp from juicing vegetables or finely grate your vegetable and squeeze the liquid thoroughly from it with your hands. Spread the finely grated dry vegetable thinly on the glass plate of your microwave and dry at the lowest setting for 30 to 40 minutes. The result is a vibrant colored and intensely flavored powder, which you might want to sift through a fine sieve to get a very fine powder. The original recipe by Thomas Keller used tomatoes, but the recipe works well for hard vegetables too, such as beets or carrots. The powders can be used both as decorations and as spices as well. Just think about how many different Hungarian dishes get their distinct flavor by the addition of paprika powder. Based on this, the potential of other vegetables powder seems endless.

For this dish I used a beet powder. Next to the red beets a vegetable called ‘eddo’ was the main ingredient of this starter. Eddo is somewhere between a Jerusalem artichoke and a potato. When peeled it has a slightly slimy touch, which turns into a starchy consistency similar to potatoes when cooked.Just like Jerusalem artichokes, eddos tend to fall apart completely when they are overcooked, so you should better watch your pot unless you want to prepare a puree. In this appetizer I used eddo in two different consistencies: as a puree blended with fresh creamy goat cheese and as tubes cooked al dente. I rolled the tubes crosswise in beet powder to get a nice pattern and flavor combination. Besides the beet powder I also baked a small beet and warmed it in reduced beet juice before assembling the dish. Beet sauces are usually flavored with pomegranate juice, syrup or molasses, but this time I used a special pomegranate vinegar, which balanced the sweetness of the beets much better. If you can’t find any eddos, substitute them by Jerusalem artichokes.

Eddos

Eddo with Beets and Shaved Hazelnut

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 2 portions

Eddo with Beets and Shaved Hazelnut

Ingredients

  • 2 small red beets
  • beet juice
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate vinegar
  • 250 g eddo (or jerusalem artichoke)
  • 1 tiny clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh creamy goat cheese (or créme fraiche)
  • 1 drop chili oil
  • 4 small red beet or swiss chard leaves
  • 2 hazelnuts
  • few drops hazelnut or walnut oil
  • salt
  • butter

Instructions

For the red beet powder
Wash the smaller red beet, peel and grate very finely. Squeeze the juice from the grated beet with your hands and reserve the liquid. Spread the dry grated beet thinly on the glass plate of your microwave. Microwave for 30-40 minutes at the lowest possible setting. Keep an eye on the microwave to prevent the grated beet from getting burnt. Remove the dried beet and sift through a fine sieve. Reserve the beet powder covered at a dry place.
For the beet cubes
Wash the other red beet and wrap in aluminium foil. Bake in a 200°C / 390 F hot oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and chill to room temperature. Unwrap the beet, peel and cut into 0,5cm cubes. Cover the cubes and set aside.
Replenish the reserved squeezed beet liquid with beet juice to get approximately 150 ml beet juice. Transfer the beet juice with the pomegranate vinegar, beet trimmings and a pinch of salt to a small pot. Reduce at the low heat until the liquid starts to get syrupy.
For the eddo
Wash the eddos (or jerusalem artichokes) and peel. Cut 4cm long tubes from the eddos using an apple core remover. Trim the ends. Cook the eddo tubes according to their thickness for 4-6 minutes in boiling hot salted water. Chill in ice water, strain, cover and reserve.
Finely chop the remaining eddo and transfer to a small pot with a tiny garlic clove and a generous pinch of salt. Add enough water to just barely cover the eddo. Cover and cook over low heat until the eddo is very tender. Strain the cooking liquid. Blend the cooked eddo with 1 tbsp creamy fresh goat cheese (or use créme fraiche). Press through a fine sieve. Season with salt and a drop of chili oil. Keep warm in a bain marie or over low heat (stirring regularly).
To serve
Wash the beet or swiss chard leaves and drain. Grate the hazelnut into paper-thin slices. Add the beet cubes to the reduced beet syrup and warm over low heat. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a small pan, add a generous pinch of salt and warm the eddo tubes in the foaming butter. Sprinkle 1-1,5 tsp beet powder on a cutting board. Using a knife or a dough scraper arrange the powder to a long 3mm thin band.
Put 3 tsp eddo puree on warm plates. Add 5-6 beet cubes around the puree heaps. Briefly drain the eddo tubes on kitchen paper and roll crosswise in the beet powder to get a twirling pattern. Add 2 tubes to the plate. Sprinkle with grated hazelnut. Add 4-5 drops of hazelnut or walnut oil and decorate with 2-3 beet or swiss chard leaves.
http://mybites.de/2012/11/eddo-with-beets-and-shaved-hazelnut/

2 Comments

  • Well, it seems that I have to get me a microwave just as well :-)! Very inspiring post once again – a new method, a new ingredient, and a wonderful presentation. Thank you!

  • Thank you, Angelika! A few years ago if you’d asked me whether I own or plan to use a microwave, my answer probably would have been: no, never. Now that I’ve read about several interesting techniques, I’ve learnt that microwave oven aren’t made only for warming (or nuking) food. These powders for example are full of flavor, have a beautiful vivid color and are a great idea for utilizing leftovers, such as trimmings or the pulp from juicing vegetables.

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