I’m going to make a statement that I hope won’t be too bold. I think I just made the best beets that I’ve ever had in my life and let me tell you – I’ve had some beets.
I wish I could say that I have some amazing culinary skill or secret formula but you’re going to have to thank mother nature instead. Last weekend I went to the local farmers market and happened to stumble upon these beets. I’ve never cooked beets on my own so I was a bit worried but I decided to buy 4 anyway. They were not cheap (especially for a college budget!), at 1.99 a pound they came to about 5 dollars for 4 beets but what was done was done so I took them home with me.
Buying organic and local actually makes a huge difference in how a dish tastes. These beets had an intense aroma from the time they started roasting to the time I first got to taste them. The flavor was also so deep and intense – sweet with an earthy afternote. It makes me a bit sad that I live in a world where it’s a big deal when a vegetable actually has real and complex flavor, but alas that is the case. This recipe has minimal seasoning and that’s because I think it’s a disservice to overpower the natural, buttery sweetness of the beets themselves.
Beets are at their peak in June through October (to get the smallest and most tender ones) but are widely available year round. Try and buy them organic if you can, and even better, local and organic. You want to buy ones as small and firm as possible.
Roasted Beets with Balsamic
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes Serves: 6
- 4 beets (about 2-2.5 lbs)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- a dash of salt and pepper
- You can serve this by itself or on top of a bed of salad, personally I prefer spinach but arugula or mixed greens could also be fantastic.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash your beets well, making sure to scrub the skin. Cut off just a bit from the top of the beets.
Take some of the olive oil and gently rub onto the skin of the beets using your hands. Place beets on a sheet of foil.
Use a generous amount of foil, you want to be able to wrap up and completely cover the beets. Add about 2 tbsp of water to the bottom of the foil. Now wrap the foil around all the beets, making sure that there are no holes for steam to escape from. Place into oven.
Let cook for about 30 minutes then open and check them. Once they are soft enough to stick a fork through they are done. You may need to cook them for up to an hour (I did).
Once beets are cooked, remove from the foil. If you like, you can remove the skin, it should be soft and you should be able to easily rub it off with your fingers.
Slice your beets into cubes and toss into a bowl. Add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Eat them warm or if you can resist (I couldn’t) put in the fridge to cool and enjoy later.