Saturday, August 28, 2010

Can't beet a beat.

Ok, so you probably can beat them, quite easily... defenseless vegetable that they are. Terrible humour aside, I think beets are great. Aside from being the easiest-to-grow vegetable I've had the fun of raising (let's not think about all the 40-degree days that decimated the rest of my garden that summer) they're also very easy to prepare. Plus they only cost Euro 1.50 for a bunch at the Dom Markt, which means we're all winners.

For the world's easiest beets, just trim off the greens so that you've still got three centimetres or so of stalk above the bulb - you don't want to give you beet a chance to bleed out all that fabulous colour. Give the beets a good scrub in some water, and place them in an oven-proof dish. Cover them with a lid, or foil if you don't have one for the dish you've chosen. Alternately, you can individually wrap them in foil, but I feel like that's an awful lot of waste for the same results.

Bake them until they're completely tender, so that a knife pierces easily to the middle of the beet -about 25 minutes for small beets, 30-35 for medium beets, or 45 minutes for large ones. I tend to choose bunches with small or medium beets, partly because I have a penchant for anything in miniature, but also because large beets can be a touch woody sometimes. If you're so inclined, the greens that you've removed make a fantastic side-dish (frittata!) or stir-fry - just make sure they're well-washed, because the greens do tend to hold grit.
Wait until the beets are cool enough to handle, and slip off the skins. They'll come off incredibly easily, stems and all, and will leave you with fantastically magenta fingers for a few hours if you don't have plastic gloves to wear. I'm not averse to coloured fingers, so it doesn't phase me in the slightest. :)

Store in a sealed container in the fridge. So little work for so much flavour!

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