It’s really not the time to be using the oven but when I saw beets in the supermarket, I all of a sudden had a craving. So off I went home after watching Julie & Julia with three gigantic beets and their greens stuffed but peeking from my tote bag.
Have I told you my Belize beet story? I’ll tell you again anyway. In 2003, the Dr. and I went to the Cayo District in Belize and stayed in Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch where we rented a jungle cabana with the shower pail outside. Buffet meals were included and when it was time to eat, you had to sit with other guests in the mess room and make new friends. The staff was announcing the menu for dinner and everyone was quiet and paying attention. The second beets were mentioned, the Dr. and I–and I’m not exaggerating here–simultaneously squealed, Yay! Beets! out of the blue. I don’t know–it just came out. We had a big laugh about it, but I don’t think we made friends that night.
At home, I readied a bath of water for the greens to easily clean the soil off. I prepared the beets for roasting and turned the A/C on high. I wore disposable gloves when I peeled them just so I don’t stain my hands. I dropped the first batch of dressing and broke a glass jar, so I had to do it again.
The hour-long roasting and the peeling with disposable gloves have always turned me off when cooking beets, but I also come from the school of if-you-work-for-it-it would-taste-better. This salad really did.
3 large beets, tops chopped off with an inch of the stalk intact
beet tops, harder stalked removed, thoroughly washed, chopped in half to fit a pot
a dollop of mustard
1. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for an hour or until done. Check for doneness using fork; it should give but not too easily. Remove from oven and place on a chopping block. Open the foil to let cool.
2. In the meantime, boil some water and prepare an bowl of water with ice cube in the sink. Add the beet greens to the boiling water and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove to the ice bath to stop cooking. Squeeze out excess water and chop in smaller chunks. Loosen to a salad bowl.
3. Make the dressing. In a small glass jar, combine the rest of the ingredients and shake to mix.
4. When beets are cool enough to handle, peel by hand. Chop beets in manageable pieces and toss with the beet tops. Drizzle with dressing.