For so many years, I feared beets.
I only knew beets as those circular red things swimming in liquid at salad bars. You know the ones. With the sneeze guards?
To me, those beets looked like the cranberries from a can that you eat on Thanksgiving. And I am not ashamed to admit, I would have those cranberries on Thanksgiving no other way. Cranberries from a can and stuffing from a box.
But I digress.
I first tried my hands at beets sometime last year. I stared at the root vegetable, trying to figure out its secret. Questions streamed through my head. Do I leave on the greens? Do I eat the skin? How do I cook these things?
So I turned to my trusty friend, Google. I learned that the most foolproof method to cooking beets was to roast them in the oven for 45 minutes or so, let them cool, pull off the greens, then peel off the skin. Oh, and some even suggested wearing gloves, as beets will dye fingers.
And so the attack of the red beets began.
I forged ahead, sans gloves, and suffered the fate of the red beet. And frankly, after my meal, I still wasn't too crazy about the beet. So now I was unsatisfied, hungry, and sporting a pair of red hands.
Fast forward to yesterday, Dupont Circle Farmers Market, Washington, DC. I went with the intention to buy some fruits, but walked out with zucchini blossoms, golden beets, and buffalo meat and... well, no fruits.
I decided to try my (un-dyed) hand at beets yet again. I wanted a simple dinner with fresh ingredients, and found a fantastic shallot vinaigrette recipe that looked like it would go perfectly with the golden beets. And it did. The softer flavored golden beet was complimented by a sweet shallot vinaigrette and a crumble of mild and nutty ricotta salata. And the best part?
NO RED HANDS.
Golden Beet Salad (Adapted from Epicurious)
- 2 1/2 lb medium golden beets (with greens)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 oz. ricotta salata, crumbled
Put oven racks in lower third and middle of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
Trim beet greens, leaving 1 inch of stems attached. Tightly wrap beets together in double layers of foil to make packages (2 or 3 per package) and roast in middle of oven until tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Unwrap beets and cool slightly.
Whisk together shallot, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl, then add oil in a stream, whisking.
When beets are cool enough to handle, slip off and discard skins. Cut beets lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and gently toss with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette in a bowl.Arrange beets on 6 salad plates and top with ricotta salata.