I love beets. I know they aren’t everyone’s favorite, but people who wrinkle their noses at the mention of this root vegetable are often thinking of the canned beets of our childhood. I didn’t like those either. But fresh beets have a very different flavor than the canned variety.
Here’s my primer on roasting beets to enjoy in a salad.
Scrub each beet to get the dirt off. Cut the stems and leaves (keeping the leaves to saute if you like). You can leave the beets whole, or cut in uniform sizes for even cooking. Place them in tin foil, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with fresh salt and pepper. Wrap tightly and put in a 400 oven for 40-45 minutes, until the beets can be easily pierced with a fork. Once out of the oven, leave the foil package open to allow the beets to cool.
Now for the time consuming part. Don some gloves to keep your fingers from staining, or use a fork to hold each beet in place while you peel the skins with a knife. If the beets have been cooked long enough, the skins should come right off with minimal scraping.
Red beets are the only ones that stain, the yellow, orange and striped varieties do not, so keep that in mind if you care. If you wash your hands right away, the juice should come off your hands without any problem. In any case, it will go away eventually!
Once the beets are skinned, you can slice or cube them into bite-size peices. Then toss them with mixed greens, goat or blue cheese, almonds or pistachios, and a sherry or balsamic vinaigrette, and you’ve got a stunning and tasty salad.