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Skordalia and Roasted Beets MICHAEL SYMON

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A classic dish from Michael Symon!

3-4 cups day-old bread (crusts removed, 1-inch dice)
1 1/4 cups whole milk (divided)
3/4 cup olive oil (plus 2 tablespoons, divided)
1/2 cup sliced almonds (plus additional to garnish)
4 cloves garlic (peeled, smashed)
2 lemons (juiced)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
5-6 beets (peeled, cut into 1/2-inch wedges)
1/4 cup olive oil
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (plus more for garnish)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

For the Skordalia: Place the bread in a large bowl and cover with the 1 cup milk, pressing the bread down into the liquid so its fully immersed. Set aside.
Place the garlic cloves in a small sauce pan and cover with remaining 1/4 cup of milk. Simmer over low heat for 5-7 minutes.
Place the almonds in a dry saute pan and heat over medium-low heat. Once the almonds are lightly toasted, remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Lift the soaked bread out of the milk and remove to a blender. Add the garlic cloves, lemon juice, remaining 3/4 cup olive oil and the almonds. Blend until smooth. Add some of the reserved milk to thin out if necessary. Season with salt. Serve with the roasted beets.
For the Beets: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Place the beets on the foil, drizzle with olive oil and add the thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the edges of the foil together to form a packet. Place in the oven and allow to roast for 35-40 minutes until the beets are tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
To serve, spread the skordalia on a platter and top with the roasted beets. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and toasted almonds.
Tip: Rinsing the garlic in milk helps to eliminate the bitter, sharp taste of fresh garlic cloves.

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