Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 to 90 minutes Makes 1 1/2 cups
Pounding the walnuts with a mortar and pestle helps give this pâté its creamy texture. Its deep purple color looks striking in a serving bowl. Serve it with seeded crackers or thin slices of rye bread.
Ume plum vinegar, made from umeboshi plums, is available at Whole Foods Markets and some larger grocery stores (look on the international aisle).
To toast the walnuts, spread them on a baking sheet and place in a 350 degree oven, shaking the sheet occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully; nuts burn quickly.
Note: The pâté will improve in flavor after a day's refrigeration. It can be covered and refrigerated three days in advance. From food writer Emily Horton.
1 pound beets (1 to 2 bunches, depending on size)
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/8 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted (see note below)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar
Cracked black pepper, to taste
Minced parsley, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Wash and dry the beets, but don't peel them. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and roast until easily pierced with the sharp tip of a knife, 45 minutes for smaller beets and up to 1 1/2 hours for larger ones. Unwrap the beets and let them cool slightly. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel them (the skin should come off easily), then rinse and allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, mash the garlic to a paste with the salt in a mortar and pestle.
Pound the walnuts to a paste with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle.
Coarsely chop the cooled beets and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Add the walnut and garlic pastes, the oil and the vinegar. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Mound into a serving bowl and garnish with the parsley, if using, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Per 1/4-cup serving: 130 calories, 3 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 630 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar