Beet Aguachile

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Chef Claudette Zepeda loves to experiment with different ingredients in her aguachiles, while still showcasing the dish's fundamental flavors of salt, acid, heat, and a little bit of sugar. For this gorgeous beet aguachile (which the chef nicknames "Vampiro" aguachile, for its deep purple-red color and for its inclusion of black garlic), Zepeda makes a bright, spicy broth out of beet juice. The unique, funky flavor from the black garlic and sweetness from the orange juice help balance the acidity of the lime juice. The beets and the broth can both be made a day ahead, making assembly a snap.

Citrus and Beet Aguachile
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
Servings:
4

Ingredients

  • 8 small red and orange beets (about 1 pound), scrubbed

  • 2 cups kosher salt

  • ¾ cup olive oil

  • ½ cup store-bought beet juice

  • cup fresh lime juice (from 2 medium limes)

  • 2 medium bunches fresh cilantro (about 2 ounces each), divided

  • 1 medium (2-ounce) shallot, roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)

  • ¼ cup rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest plus 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)

  • 1 small serrano chile (about 1/2 ounce), seeded (if desired) and roughly chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 3 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped (about 2 teaspoons)

  • 4 dried chiltepin or pequin chiles (unseeded), crushed

  • 3 medium-size black garlic cloves, roughly chopped (optional)

  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 6 small radishes (about 3 ounces), thinly sliced (about 1/16 inch thick) on a mandoline

  • 2 small Persian cucumbers (about 5 ounces), thinly diagonally sliced (about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick)

  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion (from 1 small [5-ounce] onion)

  • 8 (6-inch) tostada shells

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place beets in a rimmed baking dish; cover with kosher salt. Roast in preheated oven until beets are tender when poked with a skewer, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven; let cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Uncover beets; using a paring knife or a paper towel, remove and discard skin. Cover beets; refrigerate until ready to use or up to 2 days.

  2. While beets cook, combine oil, beet juice, lime juice, 1 cilantro bunch, shallot, vinegar, orange zest and juice, serrano chile, garlic, crushed chiltepin chiles, black garlic (if desired), and fine sea salt in a blender. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Let stand, covered, in refrigerator 1 hour to allow flavors to meld. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on solids to extract all liquid; discard solids. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.

  3. Remove beets from refrigerator. Cut lengthwise into quarters or sixths. Remove leaves from remaining cilantro bunch; discard stems. Ladle chilled beet broth onto a large plate, or ladle evenly into 4 shallow bowls. Arrange beet slices evenly among bowls. Top evenly with radishes, cucumbers, onion, and cilantro leaves. Serve with tostada shells.

Make Ahead

Beets can be prepared through step 1 up to 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Note

Black garlic is fermented garlic that adds an earthy, sweet, umami punch to dishes and is available at nuts.com. Chiltepin or pequin chiles can be found at Latin groceries and mexgrocer.com.

Suggested Pairing

Earthy, skin-contact orange wine: COS Ramí

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