i know a lot of people who say they hated beets as a kid but as an adult they are one of their favorite foods. i don't recall ever trying them as a kid - i know we didn't have 'em at home, and i don't remember them being on the cafeteria tray at school or anything. the only place i do remember seeing beets when i was growing up was at the salad bar, either sliced and chillin' in the liquid from the can they came from, or mixed into some kind of salad with wax beans. but since there were also chunks of ham and shredded cheddar and creamy pasta salads on the salad bar, i had no reason to give beets a second glance or thought.
now, though, i go crazy for beets and their rich, earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness, their velvety texture, and their extremely saturated bull's-blood color (or deep cadmium yellow, or peppermint stripe). i love that they grow underground like buried treasure, i love that the greens are edible (the ones above were braised with onion, garlic, sherry vinegar, a little chicken stock, red pepper flakes and a teeny amount of maple syrup), and hey - i've got mad respect for anything that can hang out in a 400 degree oven for 2 hours before giving in the slightest little bit to a squeeze.
here's the recipe as it was printed in edible seattle, with the one change of using toasted pistachios rather than buying raw and roasting at home. adjust the portions based on your amount of beets.
recipe courtesy Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria
8 servings| start to finish: 1 day
from Edible Seattle November/December 2011
5 lbs. beets (any will do, but a mix of red, golden and Chioggia if possible)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of half of a lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, julienned (i used sweet onion)
4 ounces toasted pistachios8 ounces chevre
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put beets in a single layer in a large roasting pan or pans, without overcrowding. drizzle with the olive oil and shake pan to cover beets with oil. sprinkle with salt, cover pan with aluminum foil and roast 1-2 hours depending on the size of the beets, until tender. when the beets are softened enough to be squeezable, remove from oven and allow to cool until they can be handled. remove peels - they should slip right off. cut them into 1/2” dice and place in a bowl. toss in the julienned onions and set aside at room temperature.
for the dressing, combine the vinegar, lemon juice and sea salt in a small bowl. slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture, whisking as you pour. (i've gotten in the habit of putting all of my dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shaking the bejeezus out of it to combine.)
drizzle the dressing over the beets and onions and toss. check the seasoning. Cover and marinate the beets and onions overnight in the refrigerator.
beets from stoney plains farm
onion from willie green's organic farm