Beets

Beets  are a very versatile vegetable that can be steamed, boiled, baked, or eaten raw.  My favorite way to prepare them is to steam bite sized pieces (which is quicker than baking, and cooler in the kitchen too) and then toss them with oil, vinegar, salt, and herbs . You can also add the beets and beet greens, after they have been sautéed with garlic, to rice, along with some toasted nuts and raisins.  

See Chioggia beets, which are very beautiful when cut to show their concentric circles within.

Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Feta (from Bon Appetit)

  • 7 medium beets with greens (about 3 inches diameter)
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 Tbsp good olive oil
  • 2 ½ Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp chopped, drained capers
  • ¾ cup Feta cheese crumbles 

Cut off tops and stems from beets.  Save greens. Arrange beets in a 13 x 9" pan, add water, cover and roast until tender, about 1 hour and 10 minutes for this size.  (Beets are great cooked this way no matter how you use them!)  Cool beets until you can handle them to slip off the peels.  Slice beets thinly.  Cut stems off the greens and wash the greens well.  Wilt the greens in a large pot with the water they have on them from washing.  Cool, squeeze out water.  Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic and capers.  Toss greens with enough dressing to coat, and salt and pepper to taste.  Place greens on platter or in a bowl and put beets in the center.  Sprinkle with feta cheese, and drizzle dressing over the beets.  (Go easy on dressing the first time until you know how much you like.)

Beet and Fennel Salad (Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything)

  • 4 medium beets (a little more than 1 pound)
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh basil, 1 tsp minced tarragon, or ½ tsp dried tarragon
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash the beets well.  Wrap them individually in foil and place them on a baking sheet or roasting pan.  Cook, undisturbed, for 45 to 90 minutes, until they are easily pierced (they may cook at different rates.)  While they're cooking, trim the fennel and chop it into ½ - to 1-inch chunks.  Remove beets and plunge them into ice water until cool.  Peel them and cut them into pieces the same size as the fennel.  Toss the beets, fennel and the remaining ingredients together and serve immediately.  If you plan to let the salad sit, hold out the lemon juice until the last minute.

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