A crusty boule or other good
quality artisanal loaf of bread
About 12 baby beets with green tops attached
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
2 additional whole cloves of garlic, peeled, to rub on the bruschetta
Several stems of fresh thyme
Blue chèvre, such as a Classic Blue Log from Westerfield Farm, or a mixed blue cheese such as a Spanish Valdeón, both are available from igourmet.com
Beet Leaf Pistou, recipe below
Preheat the oven to 400oF. Clean and scrub the baby beats thoroughly. Remove all but 1/2 inch of the green tops to use for the pistou. Place the beets on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add several whole cloves of garlic and some stems of fresh thyme. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, rub the beets in the oil and continue to roast them until they are tender and a small knife slides through the beets with ease, about 10 minutes.
Let the beets cool for a few minutes, then gently remove the skin. (The skin on baby beets is generally very thin and can be left on if you prefer.) Cut the baby beets in half, taste one and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Cut the bread into 12 slices about 1/2 inch thick and prepare the bruschetta according to the master recipe for Bruschetta.
Spread some blue chèvre, such as a Classic Blue Log from Westerfield Farm or a mixed blue cheese such as a Spanish Valdeón on the warm bruschetta. You can also use a young or aged chèvre, Boursin, Robiola, herbed ricotta, burrata,or any other cheese that you like.
Add several of the roasted beet slices on top and give them a light drizzle of some good extra-virgin olive oil. Add some beet leaf pistou, recipe below, or your favorite pesto and serve.
Beet Leaf Pistou
Green tops from the baby beets plus an equal amount of chopped fresh basil and fresh flat-leaf parsley, about 2 cups total
3 tablespoons of walnuts, lightly toasted
1 or 2 cloves fresh garlic, to taste, peeled and smashed
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add the beet leaves to a pot of boiling, salted water to wilt and remove after 10 seconds. Drain, squeeze out as much water as possible, and chop. Add the beet leaves, basil, parsley and walnuts to a food processor. Pulse into a rough paste.
Slowly add about 1 cup of olive oil while pulsing the food processor. Check the consistency of the pistou. At this point you will probably need additional olive oil. If so, add it slowly and continue to pulse until you reach your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.