I would have passed right by the beets at the supermarket the other day but a savvy green grocer cut a few of them open and left them out for display. The pink and white spirals hypnotized me.
These stunners are called Chioggia, ( kee-OH-jah) or Candy Striped, beets, and they look like regular beets on the outside, but when you cut into them they are a flamboyant fuchsia and white spiral. They’re not a fancy new hybrid, they’re actually an old heirloom variety from Italy and they’ve been around for a couple hundred years. You can use these beets just like any other, but that secret inner design just begs to be shown off. One way to showcase it is to slice them very thinly and serve them raw in a salad. You can also roast them, but to retain the colorful pattern, slice them after roasting. I decided to go for a crunchier approach…
I couldn’t resist turning them into chips. A little hot vegetable oil and a sprinkling of sea salt transforms these pretty spiral slices into a crispy snack. If you use a small pot and fry in batches, you don’t need a ton of oil, a few inches will do. And yes, they do taste like beets, they have a lovely sweet earthy flavor with the same crunch of your favorite kettle chip.
- 1 bunch (about 4) medium pink beets
- vegetable oil for frying
- sea salt
- Wash the beets and slice them paper thin, there is no need to peel them. The best way to slice them is with a mandoline slicer, set on the 1/8 inch setting.
- Pour at least 3 inches of oil into a medium sized heavy pot. Heat the oil to 350F.
- Fry the beets, in batches, for about 2 minutes, until golden. Flip them around in the oil frequently so they cook evenly. First the slices will float to the top, then they will shrink and start to curl around the edges as they lose their moisture, and finally they will begin to turn golden. Drain them on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt while they are still hot.
Tips for success:
- Make sure you slice the beets thinly, about 1/8 inch. If they are too thick it will be more difficult to get them crisp. A mandoline slicer is the tool for the job.
- The oil needs to be hot, 350F is best. If it is too cool, the chips won’t get crisp, and if it is too hot, they will turn a dark brown. Use a clip on thermometer for best results, and don’t fry too many chips at once or the temperature of the oil will drop.
- You can use regular red or golden beets to make chips, as well.
The pretty pink color of these ruffled chips makes me think of Valentine’s Day…a little bowl of these with a great cocktail and I’m not sure you’d need anything else…except each other <3
If you’re interested you can buy the heirloom Chioggia beet seeds online from the Seed Saver’s Exchange, and grow them yourself.
How about this cute way to serve Chioggia beets for Valentine’s Day?
I love the color of this blush pink Chioggia soup .
What are you going to do with your beets?
ps…I’m moving tomorrow, so I may be offline temporarily. I’ll be back in a few days cooking and broadcasting from a new kitchen…wish me luck!