We usually think of beets as winter vegetables, and often roast them with other root vegetables as an accompaniment to roast chicken or beef. They evoke childhood memories for the both of us – David’s family served home-pickled beets with nearly every Sunday dinner and Rob’s favourite winter soup is borscht. But the market is full of young beets of several irresistible colours at the moment, so we decided to try a summer treatment.
The characteristic earthy flavour of beets comes from a high mineral content – which makes them very nourishing. The Medieval law of correspondences classifies these ancient roots as blood fortifiers because of their red colour, and they are indeed a terrific source of iron.
This simple salad is great for cooler summer evenings, when it’s not so hot that you can’t turn the oven on, but warm enough that you still want something light for dinner. We nestle the red beets into the salad at the last minute, so they don’t stain everything pink. Great with grilled lamb chops.
Warm beet salad with goat cheese and herbs
From the Williams Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers’ Market cookbook
1 ½ lbs. of beets, greens removed
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. chopped fresh chives
3 tbsp. olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 400º F and wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, 45 min. – 1 hour, depending on the size of the beets. When cool, peel and quarter the beets and place on a serving platter. (You can use paper towels to peel red beets, to avoid staining your fingers.) In a separate bowl, mix together the thyme, chives, and olive oil. Spoon the oil and herb mixture over the beets, and season with salt and pepper. Top with the crumbled goat cheese and serve.