4 bunches mixed beets or 4 large red beets
4½ tablespoons blanched, peeled and sliced almonds
6¾ tablespoons yogurt, plus more as needed
5 teaspoons roasted garlic
½ tablespoon pickled hot pepper liquid
½ tablespoon sherry vinegar
4 teaspoons fromage blanc
3 teaspoons shallot, minced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon dill, chopped
Roast the beets:
Preheat the oven to 395°F.
Clean the beets and remove the greens and any dirt. Cover each with foil to completely enclose. Roast the beets on a baking sheet in the oven until the beets are fork-tender, about 2 hours. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Reduce the oven temperature to 215°F.
Using a kitchen towel, peel off the beet skins by wiping them forcefully. Insert and twist a small paring knife into the flesh of the beet to break them into smaller pieces. Repeat until each beet yields 10 to 12 irregularly shaped 1/4-inch chunks. Return the beets to a baking sheet and place in the oven to dehydrate. After 11/2 hours, the beets should be dry to the touch and slightly shriveled and intensified in flavor. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and set aside.
Make the almond dip:
While the beets are roasting, spread the almonds on a baking sheet and place in the oven until they turn the color of peanut butter, about 6 minutes. (Ideally, the almonds should be roasted at 320°F for 10 to 12 minutes.) Let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Measure out 3 teaspoons of the almonds, roughly chop, and set aside.
In a blender, combine the remaining almonds, the yogurt, garlic, pickled pepper liquid and vinegar. Blend until very smooth and transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining base ingredients; then fold in the reserved chopped almonds.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the fromage blanc, shallot, lemon juice, honey and dill into the purée. Adjust the seasoning with lemon juice and salt. A small amount of additional yogurt may be used to thin the dip if needed. Cover and refrigerate until plating.
Assemble the dish:
Approximately 45 minutes before serving, while the beets are drying in the oven, remove the almond dip from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Place the warm beets on a serving plate and lightly sprinkle with celery salt. Serve the beets with the almond dip.
This recipe is a W&S web exclusive.