Monday, November 24, 2008

The Roasted Beet

I'm not a big beet fan. When a rash of raw beet salads made their way through the food blogosphere earlier this season, I was still thinking of them as suitable compost. So it was with great hesitation that I prepared my first beet in years. The motivation was simply frugal: we had beets, they were getting limp, and I needed to eat.

The beets came in the most recent installment of our winter CSA. Ironically, it was a CSA that first turned me off to these most queer vegetables. Back then I had no problem with the occasional maroon cube mixed in with other, less weird root veggies. But the monstrous creatures I used to get week after week were just too much. Plus, they made me pee pink.

This time around I decided to keep it simple and confront the beet head on. I wasn't going to sneak them into a melange of turnips and potatoes, nor was I going to dissolve them into borscht. I took my beets straight up.

I peeled and quartered four beets, tossed them in oil with salt, pepper, and rosemary, and roasted at 400 degrees, stirring several times. How were they? Beety. If you like beets, you'd like them. If you don't, you wouldn't.

My favorite part of these beets were the parts that were the least beet-like. I liked the edges of the wedges, where the oil and salt created a slightly dried up, crisp skin.


Recipe: Roasted Beets

2 (peeled) beets per person
olive oil, enough to coat
1/2 tbsp dried rosemary (more if fresh)
black pepper

Grudgingly toss all ingredients together and roast at 400 degrees. Stir at least four times.

Eat, making a face.

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Sean McLeod said...

Have you tried roasting them wrapped in foil? Place trimmed but whole unpeeled beets in a piece of foil big enough to enclose. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Fold and seal the foil around the beets and "roast" (though it's more like they steam themselves) in the oven at 400 for an hour to 90 minutes or so, depending on how large the beets are. Once cool remove the skins just by rubbing off in pieces (easiest way to do this and to keep your fingers from turning red is with a couple of layers of paper towel). The cooked beets will keep in the fridge a few days until you're ready to eat them, say in a salad with oranges, onions, olives, capers, fennel, endive, arugula, etc. They lose their earthiness and have such a concentrated sweetness when prepared this way!

Aaron said...

Interesting. Maybe it's that earthiness that makes me squeamish.

Sean McLeod said...

I see from the Bittman's Bitten column of 2/13/09 that you're still hatin' on the roasted beet idea! I for one look forward to trying them prepared this way. Are you not at least minimally interested in the possibility of sweet, roasted, caramelized beet cubes?

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