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Beet Salad with Almond Butter and Gorgonzola Bomboloni

['1/2 cup toasted Marcona almonds', '1/2 garlic clove, chopped', 'Pinch of cayenne', '1/2 to 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil', '1 1/2 pounds small (2-inch) beets without greens (2 pounds with greens)', '2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar', '1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil', '3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot', '3 tablespoons finely chopped chives', 'Accompaniments: Gorgonzola bomboloni ; coarse sea salt such as Maldon or fleur de sel']

Grind almonds to a paste with garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne in a food processor. With motor running, add just enough oil to make a silky paste. Season with salt.
Simmer beets in 3 inches of water in a large saucepan, covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Cool in liquid, uncovered, about 30 minutes, then peel and cut into 1/2-inch wedges.
Whisk together vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then whisk in oil. Add shallot and chives and toss with beets.
Divide almond butter among 6 plates and top with beet salad. Put a bombolone on each salad and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Serve remaining bomboloni on the side.

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