A blog reader, tired of beet and goat cheese salads, recently asked what to do with a glut of beets coming in from a CSA share. Here are a few quick, at-random suggestions, in case anyone else is being beaten by beets:
Roast them, then skin the beets and cut them into large wedges, sprinkle generously with sherry vinegar, and let them sit for a day or so. Then sprinkle with kosher salt, a tiny bit of sugar, and olive oil. They soak up the vinegar and make the roasted-beets-in-salad configuration a bit less tired. Instead of the standard goat cheese, you can put the beets with arugula, sections of de-membraned citrus (Meyer lemon or blood orange are good), marcona almonds, and a slice of fresh mozzarella or a sliver of Parmesan. Shower with salt and pepper, and top with a citrusy vinaigrette.
Another easy thing to do is slice the roasted beets and put them in sandwiches, maybe on a nice baguette with goat cheese, arugula, and salt and pepper. Or whatever suits your fancy.
I also love to make borscht, as I'm a huge fan of cold soups in summer. I don't have a particular recipe I like at the moment, but try one from a favorite cookbook, then doctor as you see fit next time. I like to add a squeeze of fresh orange juice or zest sometimes, or ginger. Top with a blob of Greek yogurt.
Also good: beet risotto. Make your standard risotto and throw in roasted beets at some point during the cooking process. Or dice raw beets and put them in right at the beginning. They turn the grains a beautiful color. I might serve this with simple grilled fish, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with lots of fresh herbs. This meal might be a good way to get rid of the beet greens, too -- they'd be nice sauteed and served on the side with the fish and risotto. (What to do with beet greens would take up a blog entry of its own!) If you can get your hands on the nutty, chewy grain farro, you can make a fantastic risotto-style beet farro.
Any kind of beet-and-grain salad is delicious. You can chop beets and make a pseudo tabbouleh with bulgur, chopped mint and parsley, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of s&p. Couscous (not a grain, but that's OK) tossed with beet chunks, liberal chopped basil, feta, olive oil, vinegar, and s&p is a nice side. Am I crazy for imagining that beets might be good rolled in nori with brown rice, creamy goat cheese, wasabi, and chives for a beet maki?
Beets are also good in pasta. Caramelize some onions and toss them with spaghetti, some Greek yogurt, chunks of beets, and salt and pepper. Sprinkle lots of grated pecorino on top.
In Mark Bittman's recent picnic-dish extravaganza in the New York Times, he suggested a raw beet salad:
"Peel beets and grate them (a food processor will keep the juice contained). Add pistachios or hazelnuts; dress with orange zest and juice, and olive oil. Add bits of goat cheese and chopped parsley."
There's a fantastic-sounding recipe for beets with mint and yogurt from Madhur Jaffrey on Epicurious. Find it here.
What else? Beet ice cream? I think one could make a lovely beet tart with phyllo, feta, and herbs. Beet tarte Tatin? Beets are so versatile, because they pair well with so many things: herbs such as mint, greens peppery and mild, cheeses soft and hard, citrus, creamy things, cumin.
What do you do with beets?
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