Large beets, braised with balsamic vinegar, agave syrup, and aromatics and fried in a crisp tempura-like batter, are the main focus of this vegan dish that chef Josita Hartanto of Berlin’s Lucky Leek serves with a bright fresh raspberry sauce to balance the beets’ earthiness.
Featured in: Berlin’s Green Party
- 1 3⁄4 lb. red beets, peeled and quartered
- 1⁄4 cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more
- 1⁄4 cup agave syrup
- 2 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup frozen, thawed raspberries
- 2 tbsp. raspberry or red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp. apple juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup sparkling water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 cup dried oregano
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- Mâche, for serving
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
- Heat the oven to 300°. In an 8-inch square baking dish, toss the beets with 1⁄4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons agave syrup, 1 tablespoon salt, the balsamic vinegar, thyme, and garlic. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the beets are tender, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
- Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the raspberries with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the remaining 2 tablespoons agave syrup, the raspberry vinegar, and apple juice. Season with salt and pepper and purée until smooth. Scrape the sauce into a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Pour enough vegetable oil to come 2 inches up the side of a medium saucepan. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pan and heat the oil to 350°. In a medium bowl, whisk the sparkling water with 1⁄2 cup flour, the oregano, cornstarch, baking powder, and remaining 1 tablespoon salt into a smooth batter. Place the remaining 1⁄2 cup flour in another bowl.
- Uncover the beets and transfer them to paper towels to dry and briefly cool. Place the beets in the bowl with the flour and toss to coat evenly. Working in batches, dip the floured beets into the batter and then drop into the hot oil. Fry the beets until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift the beets from the oil, drain briefly on paper towels, and season with salt.
- To serve, lightly dress the mâche with a drizzle of olive oil in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Spoon some of the raspberry sauce onto 4 plates, and then top with the warm beets. Divide the mâche over the beets and sprinkle with the hazelnuts.