Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One for the treble. Two for the bass. It's the beet!

My beverage of choice used to be the beetlejuice from the now defunct Juice Box Cafe. A thick, freshly pressed mixture of beets, apples, and carrots. It was a drink that could turn your insides rainbow colors. This alone should be reason to try it.

When I expressed my love of this juice to my mother and insisted she try it, not only did she turn her nose up but also dared to state the obvious.

Beets taste like dirt.

Indeed, beets are... earthy. They taste like dirt, but in a good way. There's that subtle sweetness that cuts through the taste of soil. But its hard not to be mesmerized by their vibrant colors as they stand out among the dull greenery of the produce aisle. Beets, however, can be a force to be reckoned with. Newly manicured? Forget it. Wearing white? Run away from this recipe. Beets will stain your insides but also that fresh linen apron, the back-splash of your white kitchen walls, and your french manicure.

Perhaps this is why the beet is neglected – destined to be canned or pickled in the safety of a stainless steel assembly line. I find those beets tasteless and tame; losing the earthiness that draws me to them in the first place. Its worth getting your hands a little dirty for these gems. If you have a juicer then by all means... Roasting and tossing them as a salad is my go-to method. Choose small beets in red or golden for the best flavor. Or better yet, a combination of the two.

Beet Salad with Orange and Walnuts

1 ½ cups of beets, cut into bite sized pieces

1 orange, segmented with juice reserved

½ cup of walnuts, chopped

2 cups bitter greens, like cress or arugula

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar



olive oil

crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375. Scrub the beets well in water to remove any dirt. Cut large beets in quarters or smaller ones in half and place in a foil lined pan. Drizzle with olive oil and cover the pan with a top layer of foil. Roast the beets at 375 for 25 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a fork. Roast another 5-10 minutes with the foil removed to caramelize. Let the beets cool slightly, then slip off their skins.

To make the dressing whisk together the reserved orange juice, mustard, and vinegar. Drizzle in some olive oil until you get an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper. (This will make more dressing than you need.)

In a large bowl combine the salad greens, beets, and walnuts. Add a little bit of dressing and toss together with your hands. Add more dressing until the leaves are coated but not soaked. Plate the salads and place the orange segments on top. If you eat dairy, add a crumbled, creamy goat cheese.

No comments: