How about that headline for some great alliteration? I’ll bet it scared you for a minute seeing all that red beet juice splayed all over the cutting board, didn’t it? Well, now that you’ve calmed down, it’s time to talk bright red beets.
I’ve mentioned beets in the past. I’ve said that beets are not my thing. I’ve said that beets were one vegetable I don’t remember having as a kid. And I mentioned how, in just about every salad I had in Argentina, chunks of bright red beets were never left out and although they were beautiful, I’d avoid them because beets, to me were not far from Papaya. I found them mushy and lacking in flavor.
I expect a brilliant splash of tropical flavor with every piece of papaya I’ve bitten into and am always disappointed and the same goes for ruby-red jewel toned beets. With a vegetable so brilliant in color, I expect a brilliant flavor and yet, have never found it — until now, that is.
As I mentioned, or I meant to mention in my post on FRANtasticFood when I wrote about my recent Spring Break tour of the south, one of the delicious dishes I had (a couple of times) was Beet Salad and, get this … I LOVED it!
The salads were both done with a vinaigrette which was the perfect way to add flavor to the vegetable. I don’t know exactly how the recipes were done, but I knew I tasted citrus and wanted to be sure to capture that flavor in my salad. I added shallots and pine nuts and it was delicious! So much so that I have had this salad four — or is it FIVE — times since I got home 2 weeks ago.
And now for the fun part. My sister told me she often adds shape to her beets with a cookie cutter! Yes. She cuts her beets into shapes and not to get kids to eat them, but just to add fun and to take the salad one step further.
What a great idea! I headed to the closet, pulled out my boxes of cookie cutters, picked a couple that were just the right size and Voilà! Beets in the shapes of hearts and stars. Pretty and delicious, what more could I ask for? Even the cut out parts are fun and don’t go to waste.
So, if you love beets, but have never had them in a salad with a citrus vinaigrette, try this. I’m sure you’ll be won over. And if you’ve avoided beets all your life, I implore you — try this! Really, you’ll be happy you did. Either way, let me know what you think.
Oh, and one warning — BE CAREFUL with those red beets. They will stain. I mean really. STAIN! I was very careful, but if you’re not, beware of the beautiful red color of anything they touch.
|Hearts ‘n Stars Beet Salad Recipe||
- 2 bunches beets — any color
- Olive Oil spray
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper
- 1 large shallot — sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine Vinegar
- 1 Orange
- 2 tablespoon Pine Nuts, toasted
- Pre-heat an oven to 400º
- Cut the tops off the beets and rinse to remove any dirt.
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place the whole, un-peeled beets on the pan. Hit the beets with the olive oil spray until they’ve all been coated. About 1 or 2 pumps a piece on each side.
- Roll the beets around. Run to the sink to wash your hands so that you don’t end up scaring yourself when you wake up with red fingers the next morning.
- Cover with foil and roast for 40 – 45 minutes or until fork tender.
- Remove from the oven and let steam for 10 minutes.
- While the beets are resting, make the vinaigrette.
- In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and orange juice.
- Using your fingers, remove the skin.
- Slice or cut into wedges or chunks. If you’re going to cut into shapes, slice thinly, about 1/4 – 1/2 inch wide or it will be rather difficult to cut. I used a paper towel on top of the cookie cutter to make it easier.
- Put the beets in a bowl.
- Add the Shallot slices.
- Pour the dressing on top.
- Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper.
- Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Plate and sprinkle toasted pine nuts and toss.
Weight Watchers Points Plus Value — 4 per serving
NOTE: When using golden and white beets, please note that they will also turn a reddish color.