Friday, September 19, 2008

Beets




As a kid I remember eating beets once a year—on Palm Sunday when we would sit down to the customary Greek lunch of bakaliaro (fried salt cod), skordalia (garlic dip) and boiled beets made every year on this holiday. And I’m pretty sure I still ate beets only on Palm Sunday right up until I was married and began testing the cooking waters for myself. I now make beets at least every other week and I’ve even gotten my mom to make them occasionally (on days other than Palm Sunday).
At first I would buy some fresh beets, boil them and then serve topped with some oil and vinegar. That is until I tried out a great recipe from Gourmet that I use religiously now and which has gotten much acclaim by family and friends whenever served. The original recipe calls for using canned beets, but I love the taste of fresh beets as compared to canned. So I always make my own—oh, and I don’t just boil my beets anymore. A few years ago I realized I can bake beets wrapped in aluminum foil just as I would potatoes. The earthy flavor of the beets after cooking in the oven is unparalleled. I like to add this as a side dish to simply roasted or grilled meats like beef, lamb or pork. And be sure to stick with the cider vinegar cited in the recipe—it makes all the difference.



Beets with Caramelized Onions and Feta

(Adapted from a recipe found in Gourmet Magazine)


Serves 6

Six well sized beets, ends cut away and skins scrubbed clean
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste



Dressing:

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


½ cup feta crumbled



Wrap the cleaned beets in aluminum foil and prick with a fork. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour, or until a knife can easily run through them. Remove and let cool slightly. Unwrap and peel away the skin. In a small bowl combine the cider vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and slowly whisk in the 3 tablespoons of oil. Set aside. Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of oil in a skillet and cook onions combined with about ¼ teaspoon salt until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add onions to the dressing. To serve in individual plates, cut beets crosswise into thin rounds and top with some onions and crumbled feta. To serve as a salad, slice beets crosswise and then cut into half moons. Gently stir in the caramelized onions and top with crumbled feta just before serving.


2 comments:

Ivy said...

Beets are really great when they are oven baked. I usually add more and preserve them in vinegar and have them in salads. You finally managed with the pork loin. However, in Greece we never use thermometres and we know by experience when the meat is ready. Another nice way to make it juicy is to wrap it in parchment paper or in vine leaves. The second method gives a lovely flavour to the meat. Well done Maria.

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