When I told my Tel Aviv friends I was going to dinner at Messa Restaurant they were jealous to say the least. And, as soon I walked in, I could see why. The stark white design was the most modern, upscale feeeling of any place I visited and the food was thoughtful and creative.
One of the things I could not get enough of was the beet spread they served with bread when we first sat down. It was super smooth and airy, sweet and earthy. I found this version of this recipe and made it when I returned home and one taste made me feel like I was back in Tel Aviv again.
cleaned and ends trimmed
pitted and roughly chopped
plus more as needed
plus more for garnish
Roast The Beets: Heat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center. Puncture the beets with a fork a few times, and roast for an hour, or until the beets are completely tender when you test by cutting into the center with a knife.
Puree The Mixture: When the beets are cooked and cool enough to peel, remove the skins and chop into cubes. Place in a food processor with the dates, garlic, and walnuts. Puree until the texture is really smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and salt. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve garnished with thyme and walnuts.
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