Earlier, I wrote about beet greens and how not to waste them. And now it’s time to talk about the beets themselves.
Most people are used to seeing the common purple/red variety, and they can be wonderful, but there are others, and if you have access to good farmers’ markets, you may have seen golden beets or striped beets (I think you can tell which ones they are above, courtesy of Ellwood Canyon Farms from the Hollywood Farmers’ Market).
While often beets are roasted whole in foil, after which their skins are easier to remove, I take a different approach. Preheat the oven to about 375 degrees and prep a baking sheet with aluminum foil (or if you have a cast iron pan of some sort, that would work too). While it’s heating, rinse the beets, then peel them with a vegetable peeler (I cut anything left of the stem off with a knife first). Once the beet is peeled, cut it into discs that are roughly a quarter inch in thickness. Give them a quick toss in olive oil (I use a little glass bowl), then arrange the discs on a baking sheet. Repeat for each variety of beet. If you’re using any of the purple beets, save them for last, as otherwise they will discolor everything else.
Once all the discs are arranged on the baking sheet (I add a few grains of sea salt to each disc), put it into the oven. After about 15 minutes, pull it out, turn each beet over, and return it to the oven for another 15 minutes. The beets are now ready to join whatever dish you’d like. In my case, they became a beautiful component to a salad.
This preparation of beets is delicious, as roasting them with a touch of olive oil is a great way to bring out their sweetness (they will start to caramelize). You’ll want to pair them with something that may play against that sweetness. This particular salad had some more sweet (Satsuma mandarin oranges) but also peppery arugula, a bit of spice in the radishes and turnips, the earthiness (and crunch) of walnuts, and blue cheese (goat cheese also pairs well). Happy eating, or is that happy beeting…?
The beets of your choice (the salad above used one medium sized purple, golden and striped)
Sea salt and pepper to taste, or season as part of whatever they’re going into