Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beets, Baby!

Never liked beets. Never ever. They tasted like ground and, what's worse, they were pink -- which made them look sweet, and thus stung all the more when they tasted like ground.

But one day in April, at a delightful bakery in Somerville, I tasted beet and barley salad. It was flavored with vinegar and parsley and other simple elements that turned this ugly root into an edible and enjoyable side.

Turns out beets are sweet and rich, and yes a little earthy, but in a good way if you manage it well. My boss, Greta the Russian, says the best way to cook them is to roast them whole, then peel the skin and prepare as desired. I shortened the process by cubing the beets and roasting them in a hot oven, then while still warm, tossed them in vinegar and OJ. Sweet and tangy.

Golden-Orange Beets
3 medium beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 med-large orange, segmented
1 tsp dried basil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup hard cheese like parmesan, asiago, or peccorino, grated
S, P & oil

  1. Toss the cubed beets in 1-2 tsp olive oil, basil, and plenty of S&P. Roast in a 400ยบ oven for about 25 minutes. Prick them with a sharp knife to make sure they're done before taking them out.
  2. Cut orange segments in half, so everything is equally bite sized. Toss cooked beets with oranges and all remaining ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste.

FYI: Because I had them, I used golden beets and blood oranges, which made a beautiful contrast. But it occurs to me that an equal and opposite contrast would be made by regular old red beets and naval oranges. How about that?

Do you have a delicious beet recipe? Share! Share!

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