Baby Beets, Cucumbers and Feta Pintxos

Makes 8

Note: If you cannot find baby beets, use small beets. To make a vinegar reduction, simply simmer the moscatel vinegar until reduced by half.

8 baby beets, 1 to 1 1/2-inches in diameter

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

8 squares feta cheese, cut 3/4-inch square and 1/2-inch thick

8 pitted Kalamata olives

8 squares peeled English cucumber, cut 3/4-inch square and 1/2-inch thick

Extra-virgin olive oil and moscatel vinegar reduction, for drizzling

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the stems of the unpeeled beets, leaving 1/2 inch intact. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place them in a baking pan with 1/4 cup water. Roast for 30 minutes, or until just tender when pierced with a knife. Transfer to a bowl of cold water. When they are cool enough to handle, top and tail them and slip off the skins. (Note: If you are using small beets, cut them into squares, as you did the feta and cucumber.)

2. Thread each of 8 skewers with a beet, a feta square, an olive and a cucumber square. Arrange on a small platter. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar reduction. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

-- Gerald Hirigoyen, "Pintxos" (Ten Speed Press, $24.99, 202 pages)



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