02 October 2010

Beets - Ruby Jewels for Fall Good Food Gatherings

Think the bright colors have departed with the summer wind?  Guess again.

We're singing the praises of beets - ruby red and full of flavor. Nutritionally high in folate, manganese and potassium (yes, you should believe everything you read in the NY Times), they offer a healthy mouthful. They are a perfect accompaniment to so many good food gatherings, they should be a staple in your pantry plans.

Sharing our favorite oven roasting method below, you'll see how simple and straightforward preparing these lovely jewels can be.  Following the easy prep, take a look at three ways we make use of the roasted beets in our good food gatherings.

Roasted Beets
6-8 fresh medium size beets (2 inch diameter) - with or without leafy tops
fresh thyme - 4-6 stems
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F. Slice off top and root of each beet.  Rinse well and scrub lightly to loosen and remove dirt.  Save the beet greens for another use.

In a roasting pan or baking sheet, place a long sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Lay the beets in the center on their side, avoiding having them "stand" on a cut end if possible. Add thyme across the top.  

Bring together sides of the foil, creating a standing "package" sealed to prevent steam from escaping.  Roast beets for 1 hour (may take another 10-15 minutes if the beets are large, or only 45 minutes if the beets are small).

Remove from oven.  You'll know the beets are cooked if a fork pierces the center easily.  Allow to cool enough to be able to handle.  Slide the skins off (should be very easy) taking care to avoid getting the color on clothes or kitchen towels.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

How to serve
A few of our favorite ways to serve and present beets:

Carpaccio style - take each beet and slice into 1/4-1/2 inch thick circles.  Layer circles decoratively around a small platter.  Sprinkle with chopped green onions, and feta cheese or ricotta salata.  Dress lightly with Balsamic Vinaigrette (consider adding orange zest for a little extra flavor!).  Also beautiful atop a bed of baby spinach.

Salad - slice beets into circles, and then again in large matchsticks. Add to a mixing bowl.  Toss with 3-4 TB of extra virgin olive oil, 1 clove garlic minced, salt and fresh ground pepper.  Set aside.  Prepare a green or mixed salad to your taste.  Once tossed, add the beets atop the salad and sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese or chevre rolled in toasted nuts.  NOTE:  always add the beets after tossing the salad to avoid the entire greenery becoming red-tainted.

Marinated - slice beets into quarters (or eighths if the beets are large enough) and add to a mixing bowl.  Toss with your favorite vinaigrette - greek, italian, balsamic, french - and season with salt and pepper.  Let stand for 1-2 hours.  Serve with a sprinkling of chopped chives or green onions.

Other Beet Ideas
Though we're partial to the easy roasting method as a purist way to bring out the flavor and color of these veggie jewels, we wanted to share some of these alternatives as delicious ways to take beets in other directions.

Mediterranean Beet and Yogurt Salad (New York Times)

Beets with Buttermilk Blue Cheese, Arugula and Toasted Pecans (Eats Well With Others)

Beets with Horseradish Cream (Food Mayhem)

Please share any favorite beet preparations that have graced your table - and pleasured your palate!
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Wishing you a full belly, a heavy purse and a light heart!


cynthia - thedailybasics.com said...

I don't like beets but you might have made a convert out of me. These are fab recipes and ideas. Who would have thunk?

AB HOME Interiors said...

Don't like them myself, but I do have family that loves them. Thanks for the tips! Off to see the other worker bees!

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