For some reason, no one I knew ate beets when I was growing up. I think the first time I saw a beet was a pickled version at a Wendy's salad bar during the happily short-lived salad bar craze of the 80's. (Mmm...wilted lettuce and mayonnaise salad.)
I don't know why we didn't eat beets, especially since it turns out they're so easy to grow here. And beautiful. And delicious.
One of our favorite ways to eat them is a variation of a salad I make with potatoes, which is itself a variation of a dish we tried in Paris.
Ingredients for 2 very generous, main course portions
For the vinaigrette:
Whisk about 3 parts good olive oil to 1 part vinegar, 1 part water, and 1 part Dijon mustard
Add sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
For the salad:
Clean and chop or tear into small pieces about 2 dinner plates worth of mixed greens, some sharp and some sweet or whatever is in the garden at the moment. Basil makes a nice addition too.
For the beets:
Puncture 3-4 large beets and microwave until soft but not mushy. While they're still pretty warm, cut into thick slices and place in a bowl. Add about a tablespoon of flour (I like semolina, which gives a nice nuttiness), plus salt and pepper to taste. Quickly sear in a hot pan with a little olive oil, just until a nice, light crust is formed.
For the finished dish:
Quickly, before the beets get cold, toss lettuce, beets, and vinaigrette. Serve right away.
There's something about the contrast of the warm beets and the cold greens, the sweetness of the beets and the tang of the vinaigrette, that is just right for a summer supper.
And by the way, you may notice that the photo above is of sliced, raw beets, and in this recipe, I cook the beets whole, then slice, then sear. Well, I guess a confession is in order. I made the dish, and we ate it before I remembered to take pictures. The photo above is from several nights ago, when I was slicing beets to add to a mixed veggie roast. So now you know. We were too greedy to wait.
Also posted on Real Food Wednesday.