Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beet Feats: The Saga Continues

Some of you may recall that beets hold a special place in our hearts. In particular, they occupy the part of our hearts that wrenches in anticipated agony whenever we think about them. I know, I know, we put on a brave face. We loudly declare that they've been officially rehabilitated. We almost bring ourselves to say something we didn't quite bring ourselves to say. We casually let slip that we've sprinkled them on a salad and that we have done so voluntarily.

We don't hate them. We just refuse to call them by name.

The thing is, though, these previous beet escapades have always involved leaving them raw. That was the secret to unbeeting their beetiness. The lack of heat was their kryptonite. Their -- and I apologize for using technical jargon here -- inherent ooginess was disarmed by our refusal to put them within ten feet of a stove or stove-like object.

And then suddenly, it occurred to me...we were a one-trick beet pony. If we couldn't conquer the cooked beet, then really, hadn't the cooked beet conquered us?

It's worth contemplating. As you do...and I am speaking directly to all you fellow beetophobes out there...as you contemplate the one-trickedness of the proverbial beet pony, and puzzle over what on earth a beet pony might be and exactly how little sleep I may or may not have been getting lately, preheat your oven. Take out some chard-like roots, and do this with them. Then, ever so casually, without even quite looking directly at the plate, take a bite. Chew. Twice, even. You might be surprised.

3 medium beets, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into chunks or wedges
Olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped green frisee mustard (or sub baby arugula)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 oz. goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Toss the beets with a generous glug of olive oil, and mix with the garlic, rosemary, salt, and white pepper. Pour into a nonstick baking pan (I used a loaf pan -- you want it to be 1-2 layers deep) and cover with aluminum foil.

Roast covered in the oven for 25 minutes, then uncover, stir, and roast for 35-40 minutes more, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, heat the balsamic vinegar in a small pot over medium heat until it just starts to simmer. Turn the heat to low and simmer gently until the volume has reduced by half. Remove from heat and set aside.

Arrange the mustard greens in a bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and just a little balsamic reduction. Top with the roasted beets, drizzle with the rest of the reduction, and sprinkle with goat cheese and a dusting of white pepper. Serve hot.

Serves 2, and pairs well with Eggplant and Tomato with Fried Basil and Quinoa (coming soon!) when you're in the mood for something delectable and vegetarian.

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