Friday, June 15, 2012
Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese
No one is half way when it comes to beets; you either like them or you don’t. Beets may be a generational thing, a food that your mother or grandmother ate but one for which you can’t muster much enthusiasm. But that doesn’t explain why they appear on the menus of so many “hipster” dining joints (insert name here). (Also trending in these hipster hideouts is brussel sprouts as an appetizer/ first course. Brussel sprouts as an appetizer?) ( I know, they’re cheap and they make money).
We humans appear to have evolved to be “hard wired” to prefer sweet, which would include beets, but why is there an aversion to them? In the wine world, there is a term for the relationship that geography, geology, and climate make on wine grapes and how that influences the taste and nose of the wine. It’s called terroir. (I worked with a sommelier who used to say, “You pay for that dirt.”) I know that no one would talk about the terroir of a beet, but is the very earthy taste of beets part of the aversion? I don’t know. I’m not here to change anyone’s mind. I came around to beets but I am alone in this in my family.
These were made with a bunch of baby red beets, which makes a serving for two. (The bunch had seven baby beets).
Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese
For two servings
One bunch of baby red beets
Olive oil, salt and ground black pepper and several sprigs fresh thyme for roasting the beets
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
salt and ground black pepper
3 to 4 Tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut off the beets greens; save for use as a side vegetable. Rinse the beets under cold water. Cut off the spindly end of the beet. Place the beets in one layer onto a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle the beets with a tablespoon or two of olive oil; season with salt and ground black pepper. Add the thyme to the beets. Wrap the foil around the beets and place the package onto a baking sheet. Place the beets into the oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until tender; the point of a knife should easily pierce the beets. (If you are roasting larger beets, they will take longer to cook). When the beets have cooked, remove them from the oven and let cool completely. Clean the beets by trimming off the stem end of the beets and peeling the skin from the beets. (This part could stain your hands so use rubber gloves if you wish). Slice or dice the beets, depending on their size; I cut the beets into quarters or sixths, depending on their size. Set the beets aside.
2. Prepare the vinaigrette for the beets. Place the oils, vinegar, honey salt and pepper into a small bowl and whisk until combined. Add the beets and stir. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
3. To serve, stir half of the crumbled goat cheese into the beets. Place a few lettuce leaves onto two plates; divide the beets between the two plates. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoons goat cheese over the two salads and serve.