Friday, December 11, 2009

Just Beet It- another Italian fast food


 What in the world is that? you might be wondering.
I did too the first time I came across them in the market a few years back.
These are oven or fire roasted beets for your cooking convenenience.
They may not be much to look at, but they are delish, with just the right amount of smoky flavor adding to the soft sweetness that oven roasted vegetables are so noted for. It seems that they start to appear late in the autumn as a means of extending their appeal to the public and perhaps they start to lose their sweetness as they sit. They also do this with the really large beets, which I don't know if's because they are large, or if they let them get large just for this purpose. I do know that I start looking for them in the autumn and savor them until they disappear sometime after the new year.
I use to always pickle a few beets back in my days in the US, as that was one of the main ways, well actually, the only way they were served in my family growing up. Now I tend to eat them up before I get to the pickling part. I really haven't met a vegetable I didn't like, although some have grown on me more as I have learned to prepare them in a variety of ways different from their original appearance in the family repertoire. My in laws introduced me to beets and onions cooked in the ashes of their fireplace originally.They like to wrap them in foil and toss them in the bottom of the drawer underneath the fire or sometimes directly into the coals, although they tend to like to keep the fire cranked up, so the drawer is usually a better option. In the market, they don't bother with the foil, so the first thing to do be fore using them is to peel off the crackly outer skin before proceeding. They'll last about a week in the refrigerator. Their flavor is more prominent if brought to room temperature before serving. This isn't a real ecipe just a guideline for making a tasty simple salad. If you don't have roasted beets, you can of course use the vaccum packed cooked ones or boil some to use, but the roasted ones really are worth the effort. If you nave some other things you are baking, you could wrap them in foil and leave in the bottom of your oven while your other things bake. I'll take about an hour depending on the size of your beets.


Roasted Beet Salad
1-2 cooked beets per person depending on the size of the beets
radiccio or some othr type of firm salad green
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
S&P
*Roasted seed mix for garnish,
I like sunflower, pumkpin, sesame and or flax

Peel and clean beets.
Cube or slice into long batons into a small bowl
Chop your radicchio(chicory or whatever) in thin ribbons, sort of like a chiffonade
Toss together and dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste (3:1ratio)
Season wiht S&P
*Roasted seed mix
You could mix all of these seeds together and place on a sheet tray and roast in the oven till lightly toasted or heat a heavy pan like a cast iron skillet
Add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds and let roast til starting to brown, shaking frequently so thye don't burn.
Once they start to brown add the sesame and flax. They'll start to pop and dance a bit and brown fast, so keep shaking your pan.
When you rech your desired color, remove from heat.
I then add a few drops of tamari or soy sauce and stir to distribute evenly.
It will stick a bit to the pan and with a cast iron skillet, it will give a deeper flavor I think.
When cool, sprinkle the seeds on top of beet and chicory mixture, just before serving.
I scooped some of the salad onto a radicchio leaf for a appealing presentation.
A lighter variety of chicory will make the salad stand out more.


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