Monday, February 4, 2008
Beets: The Only Way / Betteraves: La seule Manière
Twenty-four years, nine months and ten days. This is how much it took me to find out that beets can be roasted and are better than boiled ones. Much better.
Growing up, when my mother and I would go to the downtown market “looking for our lunch”, as she always says, we knew that buying beets meant one thing and one thing only: boiled beets salad with cumin. It is the only beet recipe I have in my recipe notebook. The only way I ate beets for the last twenty-four years, nine months and ten days. The only way I thought beets could be eaten.
Needless to say how confused and lost I felt when hearing about this cooking method on the radio. This was a lot worse than the day I discovered that the tooth fairy was in fact my parents sneaking into our bedroom, and hiding our teeth in my father’s diplomatic pouch- my sister and brothers didn’t want to believe me when I told them the truth and decided not to talk to me for two whole days.
I couldn’t wait to buy some beets last week and do the unthinkable: revisit my mother beets salad. The traditional way, or at least the way my mother would serve it, was to boil beets for nearly an hour, peel them, and serve them with ground cumin, parsley, sometimes boiled eggs, and an orange vinaigrette. My version is a little bit similar in the basis, as I love the combination of beets, cumin and orange, but so much better than the original in taste. Sorry Maman!
Roasting the beets really brings out their natural sweetness, preserve their vitamins and gives a meaty, caramelized texture to the beets- compared to watery boiled beets. Cumin seeds are roasted along with the beets to allow their smokiness to penetrate the flesh deeply, while the orange and honey vinaigrette freshens up the whole dish and sort of highlights each ingredient. It is really an explosion of smokiness, sweetness and warmth in one salad. It became our favorite root vegetable salad and the only way we will be eating beet salad from now on and for the second time in two weeks.
My Roasted Beets Salad
Recipe: Serves 4
- 4 to 5 medium beets, rinsed and quartered
- 5 shallots, peeled and quartered
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- Olive oil
- For the Vinaigrette:
- 1 tbsp Meyer lemon juice (or a mix of orange juice and lemon juice)
- 1 tsp honey
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp orange zest
- ¼ tsp salt
- A pinch of freshly grated black pepper
- Silvered Almonds, lightly toasted
- 1 tbsp chopped Parsley
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large sheet pan with foil. Put the beets, shallots, and cumin seeds in the middle of the foil. Season the mixture lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. Toss to coat. Fold the sheet of foil over the vegetables as you would fold a letter, and bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the honey with the Meyer lemon juice, half the chopped parsley, salt, pepper and the orange zest. Add the olive oil while whisking until the vinaigrette comes together but is still a little light.
Toss the hot roasted beets with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle the toasted silvered almonds on top, the remaining parsley, and a little bit of orange zest.
Serve warm. You can scatter some goat cheese too. It’s lovely with beets.
Ma Salade de Betteraves Rôties
In Francais Please: Pour 4 personnes
- 4 a 5 betteraves, lavées et coupées en quartiers
- 5 échalotes, épluchées et coupées en quartiers
- 1 c.c de graines de cumin
- Huile d’olive
- Pour la Vinaigrette:
- 1 c.s de jus de Meyer Citron (ou mélange jus de citron et orange)
- 1 c.c de miel
- 75 ml d’huile d’olive
- 1 c.c de zeste d’orange
- ¼ c.c de sel
- Une pincée de poivre noir fraichement moulu
- Amandes effilées, légerement grilles
- 1 c.s de persil haché
Préchauffer le four a 200C. Garnir une grande tôle de papier aluminium que vous laisser un peu déborder des bords. Mettre au milieu du papier les betteraves, les échalotes et les graines de cumin. Assaisonner de sel, poiver et huile d’olive pour bien couvrir les legumes. Mélanger pour bien répartir l’assaisonnement et faites cuire jusqu’à ce que les betteraves soient bien tendres, environ 45 minutes.
Entre temps, préparer votre vinaigrette. Battre à l’aide d’un fouet le jus de citron, le miel, la moitié de persil, sel, poivre et zeste d’orange. Verser dessus l’huile d’olive en filet.
Mélanger les betteraves encore chaudes a la vinaigrette. Décorer d’amandes effilées, le reste de persil et un peu de zeste d’orange.
Servir tiède. Vous pouvez aussi disperser un peu de fromage de chèvre au dessus. C’est superbement bon avec les betteraves.