Full disclosure, I went much of my life thinking beets “grew” in a can and tasted like a dirty, tasteless version of jello. Fast forward to around 2002, when Steve started growing them in our new, Fitchburg suburban garden. My sister-in-law from northern Wisconsin, Wendy, was staying with us for medical treatments at UW Hospital. One afternoon, Steve brought in an armload of beets and dropped them on the island. My not uncommon reaction those days was something along the lines of “What am I suppose to do with those?!” Wendy’s calm, smiling response was more like “they’re beautiful, and delicious, and easy.” In less than 10-minutes she boiled up these colorful orbs and our culinary world expanded greatly. It’s just one of many fond memories and I think of Max & Jake’s beautiful momma in heaven absolutely every single time fresh garden beets are harvested Over the years, I’ve tended to prefer roasting but boiling is a super fast option if you’re short on time. This is one of my faves.
BALSAMIC ROASTED BEET SALAD
(Adapted from Barefoot Contessa)
- 4-6 medium-size beets, tops removed (tops can be julienned and added to greens)
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4-6 ounces mixed greens
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
- 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese (feta is great too!)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beets loosely (for air flow) and roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Insert a sharp knife or fork to check for doneness. Unwrap and let cool for 10 minutes. Peels should come off easily under running water, or use a peeler.
Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, oil, mustard, pinch of salt & pepper and set aside. While the beets are still warm, cut each one in half and then each half into 4 to 6 wedges and place them in a large mixing bowl. As you’re cutting the beets, toss them with half of the vinaigrette (warm beets absorb more vinaigrette), additional salt/pepper to taste. Place greens in a salad bowl and toss with remaining dressing just until moist. Add beets, walnuts, and cheese, and drizzle with additional vinaigrette.