Beets, Plain and Simple
Beets with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze, Beet- Orange Salad, Beet-Walnut and Prune Salad
I don’t know too many individuals who are fond of beets. If more people liked them, there would be more beet based foods — beet koshimbir(salad) and beet patties are the only foods that come to mind. Neither of these of which is appealing, and I can see why people don’t like them. But this deep purplish- red vegetable has not got its proper due.
Actually plain cut beets taste wonderful and should be and kept on the table more often – I just don’t understand why my family won’t even eat more than 2 measly pieces I put on their plates. Beets are high in vitamin C, potassium, iron and foliate and have no bitter taste.
In Paris beets are commonly on the menu of fine dining establishments and this summer it seems every food blogger was writing about beets and beet greens. The powerful sweet zest makes stand alone dishes of just beets too strong for our spicy Indian palate. And frankly beets do taste better as an accompanying ingredient in salads and side-dishes.
The first recipe, adapted from Simply Recipes is just roasted beets with an amazing balsamic vinegar glaze — you can’t eat too many of these and one large beet will be enough for 3-4 people and you’ll find that you don’t need so much glaze as the roasted beets taste great alone. Roasting beets give them a soft texture — the taste is somewhat caramelized and the result is much better than boiling, but if roasting is not possible, then go ahead and boil .
Roasted with Balsamic Glaze
• ½ kg red beets, medium sized, scrubbed clean, green tops removed (see beet greens recipe for what to do with beet greens)
• Olive oil
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1 teaspoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
• Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Place the beets in the pan. Rub olive oil over the beets, and sprinkle with salt. Cover the beets with another sheet of aluminum foil. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the beets and how old they are. After 45 minutes, test every fifteen minutes by poking a beet with a fork. Once the fork tines go in easily, the beets are tender and cooked. Remove from the oven.
2. While the beets are cooling, prepare the balsamic glaze. In a small, shallow sauté pan, add the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Heat on high until the vinegar has reduced to a syrup consistency. Remove from heat.
3. After the beets have cooled for several minutes, peel off the outer skins and discard. Cut the beets into quarters or more, bite-sized pieces.
4. Place beets in a serving bowl. Pour balsamic glaze over the beets. Stir in grated orange zest, and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a little orange zest to serve.
Beet, Walnut and Prune Salad (Adapted from www.healthy-beets.com)
This recipe called for putting the beets through the mixer but I cut them instead.
3 large beets or 4 small
10 pitted prunes
¾ cup walnuts, finely chopped
3 medium-size garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons quality mayonnaise
1/3 cup brandy
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Wrap the beet in aluminum foil and bake until tender, 40 minutes to 1 hour
2. Bring the brandy to a boil in a small saucepan, and pour over the prunes in a bowl. Let soak for 20-30 minutes. (Use hot water instead of brandy if you don’t have). Remove the prunes from brandy, and reserve the brandy.
3. Chop the prunes finely, or cut into quarters, depending on taste.
4. Peel the beets when cool enough to handle, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Do not puree.
6. In a large bowl, toss the beets with walnuts, prunes, lemon juice, garlic and 2 tablespoons of reserved brandy. Add mayonnaise or olive oil, and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, if desired.
Refrigerate the salad for a few hours before serving. It can also be made a day in advance.
Oranges complement beets and there are a plenty of recipes using oranges and beets as the base of the salad. Click here for an excellent recipe from the Food Network. I use olive oil instead of hazelnut oil and pistachios instead of hazenuts.