By Dame Judy Hevrdejs
Farmers markets won’t head outdoors for several weeks, but there are lots of indoor farmers markets in the city and suburbs. At Green City Market, currently inside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum until May 5, we picked up beets from Nichols Farm & Orchard (nicholsfarm.com) — enough to roast for one meal with a few left for another. We have a couple 3-Ingredient Solutions, of course. Yes, just three ingredients — beyond salt and pepper — can turn beets into a savory side or colorful salad.
Want to take it up a notch with a few more ingredients? Try Dame Joan Nathan’s Moroccan Beet and Orange Salad from her cookbook, “King Solomon’s Table.”
But, you grumble, beets are a pain to prepare. Well, not really. And, we always prepare enough for two different dishes. So give beets a chance.
Prep: Remove leaves and trim stem ends of each beet. Put in a pot that’s big enough to hold the beets plus water to cover them. Over high heat, bring water to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-high and cook 45 minutes to 1 hour. Keep tabs on the cooking and reduce the heat if the liquid starts bubbling a bit too much.
When beets can be pierced easily with a fork, they’re done. Drain off cooking water. Run cold water over them. When cool enough to handle, trim ends. Skins should slip off easily, but you can help things along with a small knife. Rinse. Beets are ready to eat as is. If you made more than you can use at once, store extra in a food-safe container, refrigerate and use a few days later. A couple options?
3 Ingredient Solution
Roast ’em: Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut cooked beets into large chunks. Cut a peeled, trimmed yellow onion into quarters. Arrange beet chunks and onion quarters on the prepped baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Use your fingers or a kitchen brush to help coat the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F. until edges begin to brown and crisp, 20-25 minutes. (Got dried herbs? Sprinkle with basil, oregano or thyme before roasting).
Dress ’em: Cube beets, add to a pile of salad greens and drizzle with a favorite vinaigrette. (Got goat cheese? Crumble some atop the salad).
Something special:A few more ingredients transform those beets into a Moroccan Beet and Orange Salad that Dame Joan Nathan includes in her latest book. Nathan roasts the beets to tenderize them, which you can do, of course. But we used our boiling-water cooked beets with delicious results.
Dame Joan Nathan’s Moroccan Beet and Orange Salad
Makes: 8 to 10 servings
6 to 8 medium beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 navel oranges
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped green pistachios
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse beets; rub with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Wrap in foil. Put on a baking sheet and roast about 1 hour, until tender when poked with a fork. When cool enough to handle, peel beets. Cut into bite-size pieces.
- With a sharp knife, cut off tops and bottoms of oranges. Slice off the peel and white pith. Cut in between the white membranes to extract individual segments.
- Mix lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Whisk in extra-virgin olive then toss with beets. Let sit a few hours at room temperature. To serve, add orange segments and sprinkle with parsley and pistachios.