Roasted Beets

While in Europe this summer I was delighted to see that many restaurants had beets on their menus. Thanks to the canned beets that are often served in the U.S., this root crop has never seen the popularity here that I think it deserves. Beets are good for you and are a great alternative to other vegetables such as potatoes or carrots.

Fresh beet season begins in June and runs through October, although you can find them year round because they store well. Early on in the season look for specialty, golden and baby beets for exceptional flavor. When purchasing beets select those with healthy tops that are uniform in size. Try to avoid the large ones because they tend to be tough. And be sure to save the greens. These are great sautéed with a little butter, lemon juice and garlic.

I prefer roasting beets to boiling them because it really brings out the flavor. Once roasted you can prepare beets in a variety of ways such as Harvard, Borscht or in salads. I often serve them straight from the oven, peeled and quartered.

Ingredients

Instructions

Begin by cutting the leafy greens back to about 3 inches. Leaving the tops and the tap root intact keeps in the flavor and reduces the amount "bleeding" that occurs. If you have ever stained your kitchen counter with beet juice, then you know what I am talking about.

Next wash the beets to remove all the dirt and grit.

Prick the beets with a fork and place them on an aluminum foil lined baking dish.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the beets until they are evenly coated.

Tightly cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.

Roast the beets in a preheated 400-degree oven for 1 hour or until they are tender. Baby beets will be done in 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the beets from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once the beets are cool enough to handle, cut off the tops and the tap roots, peel and quarter. Cooked beets are easy to peel. The skin should come right off.

Now you can either serve them just as they are or add them to another tasty beet recipe.

Notes

Time to prepare: 1 hour.

This recipe is vegetarian.

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