The Most Gorgeous Appetizer Is Also The Simplest

I’m a little bit cookbook obsessed, to the point where I like to read them in bed like a good novel. And like a great narrative book, a cookbook can sometimes suck you in and make you want to revisit it over and over. Bottom of the Pot by Naz Deravian is one of those undeniable books. It recounts her Persian childhood and years of cooking her native cuisine in North America. And the recipes reflect that duality - traditional but all with swap-outs that make it accessible for finding ingredients here. If you have never tried Persian cuisine then you haven’t tried one of the best on the planet, but Naz’s book makes it feel like it is second nature. It is by far one of my favorite books of the year

Now that I’m done gushing, let’s talk about this recipe. Naz came over and we made one of her most vibrant dishes. Her yogurt beet dip, known as Borani-yeh Laboo, is worth it just for the color alone. But the simplicity of the recipe defies the depth of flavor that the beets and tarragon give to this appetizer. Make it yourself and then pick up the book. I promise it will become a favorite.

Borani-yeh Laboo

Yogurt Beet Dip

Nothing brightens up a meal and everyone’s moods more than a bowl of this fuchsia Borani-yeh Laboo. The tang from the vinegar and yogurt balances and cuts through the earthy sweetness of the beets, and the tarragon adds a fresh bite. You can cook the beets by steaming them on the stovetop or in the oven. Or you can simply use store-bought cooked beets. Scoop up with warm lavash bread, or spread on crisp endive leaves for a striking mazeh.

Serves 6

1 medium beet, cooked and peeled
1 cup Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
Olive oil for drizzling

Into a medium bowl, grate the beet on the large holes of a box grater. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the olive oil, and mix to completely combine. Taste to make it delicious, keeping in mind that the flavors will develop and deepen as the dip rests. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour for the flavors to develop before serving. Stir, drizzle with olive oil if you like, and serve.

MAKE AHEAD: Prepare up to 3 days in advance and store in the fridge in an airtight container. If the yogurt weeps, simply stir to incorporate again. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Excerpted BOTTOM OF THE POT: Persian Recipes and Stories by Naz Deravian.
Copyright © 2018 by Naz Deravian. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books.