My approach to ingredients has differed a lot since I started cooking. Some ingredients I disliked (and spent my childhood refusing to eat. Mom, if you read this,… I’m sorry!) have a new place in my monthly menus... Taste evolves of course, but now that I’m master in my own kitchen, I understood what bothered me in some dishes or ingredients… and I was able to “fix” the problem and enjoy eating them!
I have always liked beets but I can say that lately, I fell in love all over again. I used to cook them by boiling them for a long time,... Felt like "forever"... And had to add hot water during the process because the cooking boiling water will evaporates before they were done. Needless to say, everything around them was pink! I changed my cooking technique and thanks to a new recipe I tried, the perspective of cooking beets does not annoy me anymore :)
My solution was to BAKE THEM!
Scrub them really well under running cold water, cut both ends and place them all on a sheet of aluminum foil. Put them on a baking sheet and in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on their size) at 400F. If you are cooking different beet colors, pack each color separately.
I’m sharing a salad recipe: Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad… I love the combination of the fresh and peppery arugula, with the warm and deep taste of the beet, balanced by the creaminess of the goat cheese and the salty crunchy notes of the toasted Marcona almonds. You will also find two quick ideas for beet salads that I do very often for my family.
Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Foolproof. Ina Garten
8 medium-size beets, tops removed and scrubbed
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula
1/3 cup roasted, salted almonds (Marcona if you can find them), toasted
4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
Heat the oven to 400F (200C) degrees.
You will need aluminum foil, a sheet pan, a small bowl, a large mixing bowl,
Wrap the beets in aluminum foil. Place them on a sheet pan, lined with aluminum foil too (that way, if any beet juices escapes, you won’t have a hard time cleaning the sheet pan!). Let them roast in the hot oven for up to an hour. It depends on their size of course. You want the beets to be cooked through, and tender, you can test their doneness by inserting a small knife.
While the beets are roasting, in a small bowl, put the mustard, vinegar, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking well until the vinaigrette is well combined. Set aside.
Unwrap the beets and let them cool for 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, peel the beets over the lined sheet pan. That way, all the drippings and juices won’t stain your working surface or cutting board.
While the beets are still warm cut them in wedges. Place them in a mixing bowl and add a 4 to 5 tablespoons of the vinaigrette, plus 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Toss them well. If the beets are warm they will better absorb the dressing. Taste for seasoning.
Place the arugula on a serving bowl or platter, add the seasoned beets, the almonds and the goat cheese on top. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette (you might have more than you need. Don’t submerge your salad with the vinaigrette, keep the unused dressing in the fridge for your next day salad fix). You can serve it warm or at room temperature.