Ed Kenney's Beet Poke
On the eve of opening our third restaurant, Mud Hen Water, we had just received a delivery of beautiful beets from Ma‘O Organic Farm. At the end of the evening, on a whim, we decided to bury the beets in the dying embers of the hearth overnight. In the morning we returned to uncover the most perfectly cooked, succulent, smoky beets we had ever tasted. We had no specific use for these beets in mind, but when they were peeled and cut, we couldn’t help but notice how much they resembled cubed ahi. The opening night menu was already set, but we decided to run a last minute offering, Ember Roasted Beet Poke with Pickled Limu, Smoked Macadamia Nuts, and Avocado. Prepared traditionally with sesame oil, chile pepper water, and pa‘akai (sea salt), our “new” rendition still honors the classic Hawaiian dish's roots (no pun intended), however, in a time when our seas are at risk of over fishing and subject to habitat destruction due to commercial fishing activity, our dish eliminates the use of fish altogether. The sweetness of the beets is offset with pickled limu. The smoked macadamia nuts reinforce the hints of smoke imbued in the overnight roasting. And the avocado provides a richness that ties this very lean dish all together. Overnight, the dish immediately became a signature item...the rest is history.
Keep scrolling for Ed's Beet Poke recipe!
Active Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours, 45 Minutes
Yield: Serves: 6 to 8
2 1/2 pounds medium beets, scrubbed
1 navel orange, halved
One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced and smashed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup wakame seaweed
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup very thinly sliced sweet onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 Hass avocados—peeled, pitted and cut into large chunks
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons wasabi powder
1 golden beet, peeled and sliced paper-thin, for garnish (optional)
How to Make it at Home
Preheat the oven to 350°. Set the beets in a baking dish. Squeeze the juice from the orange halves over the beets; add the orange halves and ginger to the dish. Drizzle the beets with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the beets are tender. Let cool, then peel and cut into 1-inch pieces. Leave the oven on.
Meanwhile, toast the nuts in a pie plate until golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. In a bowl, cover the wakame with cold water and let stand until rehydrated, about 5 minutes; drain. Rinse under cold water, then drain again.
In a large bowl, toss the beets with the wakame, toasted nuts, vinegar, sesame oil, onion and scallions. Season the poke with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until slightly chilled, about 15 minutes.
In another bowl, mash the avocados with the lemon juice, wasabi powder and
1 tablespoon of water. Season the avocado with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes.
To serve, mound the poke on plates and garnish with the golden beet, if using.
Pass the avocado-wasabi mash at the table.
The beet poke can be refrigerated overnight. Add the nuts, then serve.