I'm a little behind with all the Christmas madness and am in need of down time, so this is a post I wrote a couple weeks back. I meant to post it the week I made it but other things kept coming up and taking priority (It's funny how seriously I take this blog). Also, coincidentally, today, December 28th is my blog-a-versary! One year baby! I had wanted to celebrate with something a little sexier than beet salad but hey, I'll take what I can get at this point! So here it goes...flash back to a couple weeks ago...
Jeremy's heart will skip a beat when he learns we are having roasted beet salad with dinner. He loves beets. He loves me when I make beets. What? Your husband doesn't share the same enthusiasm? He just might if you make them this way...
Most people don't make beets because you have to handle them, usually peel them, and they dye your hands red. They are messy and ugly to say the least. The other reason why some people don't make beets is because they taste like dirt. There. I said it. It's out in the open and I agree with that statement. However, when you prepare beets this way, dare I say, correctly, it will take minimal effort of your part, leaving your hands stain free, and leaving you with a beet that tastes fresh and bright, if not a bit earthy. You can't totally transform the taste of beets. I mean let's get real, this recipe is not for people who hate beets, after all. No, this recipe is for people who don't mind beets and are looking for a way to make them taste good. Enter cool, sliced beets matched with herbs and vinaigrette.
I haven't gone vinaigrette crazy (I blogged about leeks vinaigrette not too long ago) but there is no doubt that a good tangy vinegar can take certain vegetables from ordinary to extraordinary. The oil rounds everything out and fresh herbs and red onion give it freshness. Beets in my opinion taste better cold or room temperature, like this salad. It helps to diffuse the dirty taste that is more foreword in a warm beet.
Roasted Beet Salad
adapted from Bouchon by Thomas Keller
1 1/2 pounds (4 large) red beets
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
about 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 red onion, peeled
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon minced chives
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash the beets and trim the stems, leaving about 1/4 inch attached. Place them on a large piece of aluminum foil and toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Lift up the edges of the foil and squeeze together to form a packet. Place in a small baking pan and roast for about 1 1/2 hours, or until beets are tender, offering no resistance when pierced with a knife. Carefully unwrap the beets and let stand just until cool enough to handle.
Rub each beet with a paper towel to remove the skin. Cut off and discard the stems. Cut the beets into quarters, then cut the quarters crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices and place in a bowl. Season with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add red wine vinegar, orange juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Toss and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. (I added a bit more vinegar as well).
Let the beets marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a day, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before finishing the salad.
About 30 minutes before serving, cut three or four 1/8-inch -thick slices crosswise from the onion and separate the slices (reserve the remaining onion for another use). Toss the beets with the onion, tarragon, and chives. Just before serving, check the seasonings and add additional sat, pepper, and/or vinegar to taste.