Did I ever tell you about the time I discovered beets? No? Well, it’s a fun story.
I grew up in a beet-free home. Lotsa tomatoes, lotsa carrots. Dad just didn’t bang a drum for the beet. For that reason, I was a teenager before I discovered pickled beets at a potluck.
They were amazing. I just couldn’t get enough. Sweet, earthy, rich! I must have downed a half-pound of pickled beets.
The day progressed without incident until that evening, when I peed bright red. Forgetting my earlier beet binge, I thought I was dying of an internal hemmorage and really freaked out for a few minutes. If you’ve ever gone through that yourself, you come to understand that beets stain more than your fingers.
Of course, that incident couldn’t cure me of my passion for those mouthwatering magenta morsels.
Working in a professional kitchen, we used beets A LOT. Raw, roasted, in salads and sauces. Beets are cheap powerhouses of rich flavor… great for vegetarian dishes and hearty sides.
And these days you’ll still catch me redhanded (and red-tongued, for that matter) after a beet bonanza.
Super-Casual Roasted Beet Salad (Serves Two) 2-3 medium-size beets 2 Tbsp viniagrette 1/2 cup of nice cheese (if you like). Some favorites: goat cheese, feta, bleu cheese. 1/4 cup chopped, toasted nuts (also optional) 2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (if you have them)
- Find some beets of similar size (about 2” diameter, or cut down the larger beets to halves or quarters) and wash them.
- Lay down a large square of aluminum foil.
- Drizzle the beets with olive oil and rub with salt.
- Form a package with the foil, and roast the beets at 375F for about an hour, or until a knife goes through easily.
- Cool, peel, cut them down to eatin’ size (approximately 1” pieces).
- Toss with your favorite vinaigrette and toss your seasoned beets on mache, arugula, spinach or whatever chopped lettuce you might have.
- Maybe throw in some toasted, chopped nuts, if you’re in the mood. Crumble or cube the cheese and throw that on as well.
- Maybe add fresh tarragon or chopped parsley or cilantro or thyme or another herb.
- Serve immediately as a side dish or a light lunch.
The roasted, peeled beets will also wait for you in the fridge for a couple of days if you want to prepare them in advance.
To be honest, I rarely even get to the vinaigrette part, because they’re just so darn tasty when they’re freshly roasted.