January 29, 2013

Beet Winter Hungers

Photo - Mette Nielsen

"The beet was Rasputin's favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes," Tim Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume.

Love them or hate them, no one is neutral about beets. Think about it, you can't squeeze blood from a turnip, but beets bleed for us, messing up the counter and trashing white dish towels. It's a bitch to prep beets. You need a little care and a lot of patience. But consider how they've suffered for us, lingering late in the season till they're yanked from the semi-frozen ground to emerge brilliant and sugary sweet. 

Valentines Day is fast approaching, so here is an ode to the surprisingly lovely and very pretty beet. Magenta, pink, striped, and golden, beets make a gorgeous and simple winter salad, side dish, and beautiful soup. They are earthy and rich tasting, dense textured, hearty and satisfying. 

Winter Salad
Serves 4 to 6

Roast extra beets ahead to have on hand for salads, soup and sautes.

3 whole beets, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons torn fresh basil or parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Rub a little of the olive oil over the beets and sprinkle with the saot. Set on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 1 to 1 hour & 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Peel the beets and cut into chunks. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice and mustard then whisk in the remaining oil. Toss just enough of the dressing in to lightly coat the beets. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in the basil or parsley. Serve at room temperature.

Beet Steak
Serves 2 to 4

At first glance, this looks like filet of beef, glistening, garnished with a simple parsley sprig. But, it is just a simple slice of a fat red beet, slicked with peppery olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with cracked pepper and coarse salt. Serve it as an entree on the center of the plate.

1 huge beet
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Parsley sprigs for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rub the bee with a little oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Set on a roasting pan and roast until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. It's done when it can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove and allow to cool a little. Peel. Cut crosswise into 2 inch thick slices and serve one or two on each plate. Drizzled with the remaining olive oil followed by the vinegar. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with the parsley sprigs. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. I love the benefits of having a vegetable diet. For some reason, I find it having a really good effect on my energy and my skin.

  2. My girlfriend is a beet lover herself. She claims it's good for the skin, and is always trying to make me eat some. Can't get myself to try it yet, though.

  3. A steak out of beets? Now there's something new to try over at weekend dinner. I just hope it doesn't cause any problems for my skin, like oiliness and all that.