I got the idea of fried capers from a piece Amanda had some time ago in the New York Times Magazine. Then I received some tiny bottles of aged balsamico as a gift, ranging in age from eight to forty years, and I discovered what even a few drops of the syrupy eight-year-old could do for beets. White cheese started as an enrichment and color contrast. Finally I learned to dry seasoned kale to a crisp and delicate state and found that its earthy flavor complemented sweeter beets. —magdance
eight as part of a meal
capers, either packed in salt or vinegar
medium-size beets, about 1 1/4 pounds
lacinato kale (or curly kale), about 1/2 pound
white cheese, such as chevre, feta or a fresh farmer's cheese
Wrap beets in foil and bake 1-2 hours at 400 degrees until they can be easily pierced with a fork (through foil). Cool.
Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees. Wash kale and strip from stems, discarding stems. Toss kale with 2 tablespoons olive oil and coarse salt and pepper. Bake 30-45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes, bringing buried strips to the top. All should be crisp and blackened in spots when done. Cool.
If capers are packed in salt, soak them for 1/2 hour or more (taste to make sure they are not too salty). Drain and pat dry. If packed in vinegar, rinse in a sieve and pat dry.
Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small frying pan and fry capers until crisp. Drain on paper towel. Cool.
Peel and slice beets and make long, overlapping layers on a large platter, preferably white.
Arrange strips of kale between and around the rows of beet slices.
Sprinkle beet slices with salt, pepper, drops of olive oil (may not need entire 1/2 cup), and drops of balsamico.