Beet Keftedes and Lemon-Mint Tzatziki
I've served up variations of this made-in-heaven combo at Committee, the meze restaurant in Boston where I am consulting chef.
- 4 large beets peeled and coarsely grated (about 5 cups, tightly packed)
- 2/3 cup fresh chopped mint leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2/3 cup chopped chives or spring onions including green part
- 1 1/2 cups crumbled Greek feta
- 1/2 cup grated aged graviera cheese or other aged yellow sheep's milk cheese
- Dash of nutmeg
- Dash of allspice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup plain fine breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- Flour for dredging
- Olive oil for frying
- For the lemon tzatziki
- 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
- 5 strips lemon zest julienned
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin greek olive oil
- Salt to taste
Make the beet keftedes
- Combine the grated beets, herbs, spices and cheeses in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the breadcrumbs and flour and toss well. Add the egg, slightly beaten. Knead the mixture well.
- Take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture at a time and shape into 1 1/4-inch / 3-cm balls. Flatten each ball to a patty about 1/2-inch / 1.25 cm thick. Place on a tray, cover, and refrigerate for one hour.
While the beet keftedes are in the fridge, make the tzatziki
- Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil and blanch the julienned lemon zest for about 1 minute. Drain and repeat one more time. Drain and place back in the pot with a cup and a half of water and half a cup of sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is a thick syrup,about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the lemon zest with a slottted spoon. Transfer to a cutting board and chop.
- Mix the yogurt, candied zest, mint, garlic, salt and olive oil together and set aside, refrigerated, until ready to serve.
- Remove the beets from the refrigerator. Season a cup and a half of plain flour with salt and pepper. Heat 1/2 inch /11/4 cm of olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet. Dredge the beet patties with flour on all sides and shake off the excess. Place a few at a time in the hot oil and fry over medium heat until lightly browned and lightly crisp on the outside, about 4-7 minutes total, flipping once to cook on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels. Continue with remaining beet keftedes until done.
- Serve hot or at room temperature on a platter together with the lemon tzatziki.
Go to my online Greek specialty food shop for a range of traditional and artisanal delicacies from all over Greece.