Eating Nose to Tail

Beets are one of those vegetables that has taken me some time to learn to love.  They've got a half sweet, half earthy taste that I just could not wrap my mind around. 

They are however a great veggie for a person on a budget because you can eat all of it.  When buying beets look for the bunch with nice big perky tops.

First separate the bulbs from the leaves.  Scrub off the bulbs and wrap them in foil.  Then roast them in a 375 degree oven until they're knife tender.
Hot beets, out of the oven.
The tricky thing about beets is peeling them.  Which is totally necessary because the skins are tough and don't add anything to the beet experience.  BEETS WILL STAIN EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH.  Seriously.  Don't screw around.
I hold the beets in a paper towel while they're still warm and peel of the exterior skin.  It's definitely easier to do this while the beets are still oven-hot.

The great thing about beets is that they're like little bright red sponges that will soak up any flavor you put on them.  As luck would have it I had just finished a jar of cornichons, so I used the leftover, already seasoned, pickling liquid from the jar and added s few chili's and submerged my sliced my beets in the concoction.
Pickled beets.
My favorite thing to do with beets (outside of risotto, which is awesome, but I don't have the time or energy right now) is beet and goat cheese crostini's.  Really simple and delicious and the perfect thing to munch on while you figure out what's for dinner.
Beet and goat cheese crostini with dried oregano.
Beet tops are a kinda like a heartier swiss chard, I generally treat them the same way just cook them longer.  Word to the wise: wash your beet greens really well, they can be a tad gritty otherwise.

Chop half an onion and as much garlic as you're comfortable with and cook until tender.  A trick I like to use is to chop the stalk of the beet green and cook that for a few minutes before adding the leafier bits.
Cook until they're tender and add a quick drop of cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Beet greens make a nice side dish when you're in the mood for a meat and two veg kinda evening.
Another great veggie that easily makes two very different dishes.  Speaking as a person who learned to love this veg, it's been worth the added effort to overcome my initial beet anxiety. 


09/25/2009 17:42

I love beets, especially the golden variety which allows you to avoid the worry of staining. One of my favorite salads is one of bitter greens (chicory and escarole are good), golden beets, goat cheese, and pistachios with a simple balsamic reduction. The earthiness of the beets goes so well with the sweetness of the pistachios and balsamic (and, of course, beets and goat cheese is a marriage in paradise). I have also as late started serving roasted beets on top of beet greens with goat cheese and shaved Parmesan as a nice side to any roasted or broiled meat. Also, try whipping golden beets with roasted garlic and cream for a really delightful alternative to mashed potatoes.

09/26/2009 18:28

Whipped beets? Never would have thought of that one :)

07/30/2010 11:29

Will beets still grow while still planted after tops are trimed; like we do with spinach or is this not something we can do with beet?


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