I subscribe to Brooklyn Based, an excellent blog and mailing with a ton of info on local businesses, restaurants, events, and creatives. Recently they sent an email about beets, and the infamous beet salad, including turns on the beet salad by local chefs, a recipe for Strong Place’s Beet Tartare, and an annoying piece of information:
By 1821 new research in plant breeding helped produced a higher sugar content in beets, explained Author Neil L. Pennington in his book Sugar, A User’s Guide to Sucrose.
Goddamnit. I’m not saying that the “natural” sweetness of an unadulterated roasted beet won’t bring me the same pleasure, but sometimes being informed is a bit of a buzzkill. And, for some reason, I wanted to share that with you. At least Monsanto didn’t have anything to do with it. Anyway, here’s my standby method of preparing what has been nature’s candy since 1821:
Is this boring? I’m no master of technique, but I have recently become aware of the fact that I do this differently from other people, so here’s the whole idea. Start with beautiful, local beets (the one on the right looks like a heart!):
Heat an oven to 350 (I used my toaster oven) and then peel your beets. I do it under running water to avoid staining my hands, because I’m a princess and a wasteroo. It’s best to roast items of the same size for even cooking, so I cut the two big guys in half to make each piece about the same max thickness as the little guy. They all lined up on some aluminum foil, and I brought the sides up to meet, folded them down, and folded in the ends. This traps in water vapor to help the cooking process, and also traps the juices so you don’t have beet juice burned to the bottom of your oven. Putting your packet of beets on a cookie sheet would be a wise move. They can take between 45min and 2 hours to be done (stick a fork in em). These ones took about 90min. Depending on the amount of liquid in there, you might get lucky and have the bottom of your beets carmelize a little. This is not a flaw; it is a bonus. Enjoy.
Yesterday I had a salad with these beets, their beet greens, red leaf lettuce, white snap peas, blueberries, walnuts, and a chocolate balsamic vinaigrette. It was tasty. Just sayin.
OH and Cait brought me gin and tomato juice, declared it a Bloody Margaret, and I added beet juice. And Worcestershire, Cholula, black pepper, chili powder, and cayenne. So. That, too, was tasty. Invite yourself over for lunch, sometime.