Last night I dreamed of beets. Beet relish, specifically. On recent travels, so many dishes were accompanied by a grated beet accoutrement – antipasto platters, a side dish with venison, a topping on a burger – making the food that would have been fine without the condiment, extraordinary. I’m missing beet relish, most surely since it’s figuring in my dreams, so made a version of my own.
The condiments we sampled in New Zealand varied in flavor – some spicy, some sweet – but all used a red varietal of red beets, and the beets were grated. I spied yellow beets at Whole Foods, and decided to use those instead of red, I could use a splash of sunshine.
Grating the beets with an old-fashioned box grater only took minutes, and for once I remembered to wear disposable gloves – I won’t be sporting yellow gloves for the next couple of days.
On-line, you’ll find dozens of recipes for beet chutney, all of them using red beets, and most incorporating raisins or currents and spiced with sub-continent seasonings typical of a good Indian chutney. So what’s the diff between a chutney and a relish? They’re both used as a condiment, and their names are generally interchangeable, but I’m guessing that although they are both savory, chutneys are jammier, chunkier and most often use some sort of fruit, whereas relishes are usually made with vegetables and often grated.
The symbiosis of fresh ginger, orange and coriander is a bright and wonderful thing – add currents or hot pepper, if desired. For dinner I stirred this into a pasta primavera – I’m thinking of topping it on turkey burger sliders tomorrow. Maybe I’ll use it as a topping on a crostini or bruschetta that has been smeared with goat cheese.
The verdict is out on how long it will keep its sparkle and zest confined to the refrigerator. I’m hoping at least a couple of weeks, but will update this post. (Update: keeps a solid month.) Here’s another marvelous dip using red beets: Beet and Yogurt Dip with Goat Cheese.
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