Whenever I put a mezze together, I like to make sure there is something unusual and surprising in the mix, something like the beet moutabel, a dish that is very much a part of the mezze tradition but slightly less common than the delicious hummus and baba ganoush so frequently used. —Sara Jenkins
6 to 8
For the beets:
2 to 3
head garlic, separated but not peeled
whole black peppercorns
For the tahini:
1 to 2
cloves garlic (if you really like the garlic the way I do, add another clove)
freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 to 3/4 cups
water (the water is extremely variable, depending on the brand of tahini and is used to thin the sauce out to a thick cream consistency)
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the beets in a shallow roasting pan and salt generously. Add the cardamom and peppercorns and garlic. Pour 1/4 cup of olive oil over the beets and add water to come three quarters of the way up the beets. Cover with foil and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. When tender, drain, allow to cool a little bit, then rub the skins off the beets.
While the beets are roasting, make the tahini sauce. Chop the garlic in a food processor, then add the tahini. With the motor going, add the lemon juice. Add the water in a steady stream, until a thin creamy sauce is achieved. Taste and salt.
Once cooled and peeled, grate the beets on the large hole side of a box grater. Fold in the tahini sauce and mix roughly. Add the parsley, taste, and adjust for salt and lemon.