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Martha's Baby Beets with Spring Onions

MyCookbook Recipe Database
MyCookbook Member: MarthasArchive2
Recipe Category: Side Dish
Recipe Preparation Level: easy
    Every part of the beet is edible: not just the bulbous, tapering root, but its deep green head of leaves as well. It is a small crime that beets are often sold without their greens, which are not only delicious, but also rich in calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C—they’re even more nutritious than the root. The beet is related to spinach and chard and comes in a rich range of colors and varieties: red beets; baby beets; white beets, which are exceedingly sweet; golden-yellow beets (Martha’s favorite); and candy-cane beets, which have a red-and-white spiral.

    Beets are good either cooked or raw. You can grate raw beets over a salad, or slice them extra-thin and use them as a colorful garnish for a variety of dishes and salads. If the greens are exceedingly fresh and tender, you can put them in a salad, too. The leaves won’t last much longer than two days; the roots, stored loosely wrapped in the refrigerator, will last about a week.

    The best way to cook beets is to roast them, as in this recipe, where they’re served with spring onions and sprinkled with blue-cheese crumbs. Roasting the beets maximizes their sweetness, although steaming retains their flavor and color. Make sure to choose roots of the same size. The walnut oil in the vinaigrette adds a nutty fragrance to the dish. For an even tastier vinaigrette, and to make the most of the beet juices, toss the vinaigrette into the roasting pan and stir in the juices before drizzling the mixture over the dish.

    Serves 4

    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1 tablespoon walnut oil
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    12 to 16 assorted variety of baby beets with greens attached
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3 sprigs fresh thyme
    6 medium spring onions, cleaned; stems trimmed to 2 inches
    Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    2 tablespoons (1 ounce) blue cheese, crumbled

    1. Whisk together balsalmic vinegar, walnut oil, and olive oil to make vinaigrette. Set aside.

    2. Heat oven to 400°. Remove leafy greens from tops of beets; reserve greens and discard stems. Rinse greens thoroughly, and refrigerate. Pare away tough skin at top of beets. With a firm-bristle vegetable brush or the back of a paring knife, scrub beets clean under cold running water. Place beets in a small roasting pan. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Add enough water to just cover the bottom, and cover tightly. Cook 20 minutes, remove lid, and continue cooking until beets are tender to the tip of a sharp knife, about 10 to 15 minutes.

    3. Slice the onions in quarters lengthwise. In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, add butter and onions, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium high, and continue cooking until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onions to a bowl, and set aside.

    4. Remove beet greens from refrigerator. Using the same pan as the onions, sauté greens over medium-high heat until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer immediately to serving plate. Place onions over greens. Trim “tails” from beets, and slice larger ones in half. Arrange over wilted greens with onions. Drizzle vinaigrette over beets and greens. Sprinkle with blue cheese. Serve immediately.

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