My sister Wendy does not like beets at all. She says they taste like "dirt." I can't say that she's wrong, but there's just something about vegetables that taste like the ground they were grown in that really appeals to me. I love beets, plus they are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, making them an excellent VB6 option. (Please see the May Introduction post for background on VB6.) I love the variety of colors beets come in, I love their texture, I love peeling and cutting them, and most of all, I love their earthy flavor. This week, I made yellow beets -- bright orange on the outside, deep yellow on the inside, and full of flavor.
Beets are super easy to prepare. I just lop off the stems, scrub the dirt off in cold water, and put them in a pot of salted cold water, which I bring to a boil. I cook them until they are just fork-tender. Next, I immerse them in cold water to halt the cooking, and when they are cool enough to handle, I just peel the skin off with my hands. With just a little bit of coaxing, the skin literally falls right off.
Next I slice them up -- always, always in wedges! I don't know why, but I think that wedges are the perfect shape for beets. To finish the beets, I generally add an oil (usually olive oil), an acid (lemon or any type of vinegar), an herb (dill, parsley, mint, or cilantro), a spice (cumin is my favorite on beets), salt and pepper, and some type of onion (red or white onions, or scallions, or even shallots). Really, the options are endless.
I start by salting the beets and coating them with just a little bit of good olive oil. Then I add a generous amount of acid (today it was fresh lemon juice), followed by some thinly sliced onion (scallions in this version), and a good handful of chopped herbs (I used Italian flat leaf parsley). Next, I combine everything so that it's pleasing to the eye, reserving a pinch of the parsley for the top. Finally, I sprinkle on a tiny bit of cumin, which is a great compliment to the "dirt" flavor of the beets, and some black pepper. Served room temperature or cold, the beets make for a delicious salad, side dish, or green salad addition.
Last week I made red beets. They were equally delicious and featured thinly sliced red onion and radishes, fresh dill, and red wine vinegar.