Growing up I had weird tastes for a kid. Of course there were a few normal kid-repellers that I didn’t like (such as Brussels sprouts and sauerkraut), but there were also a few that I did enjoy, namely, beets. (Beets are a funny thing…I’ve found that most babies love them, most kids hate them, and most adults will eat them. What a vicious cycle!)
I remember my dad and my sister complaining whenever my mom made beets…and my mom and I would be ecstatic because that meant more for us. To make the beets, my mom would boil them and serve them very simply with butter, salt, and pepper. Instead of boiling them, I like to use the oven so I don’t have to watch them on the stovetop; also, right before serving I add fresh lemon juice and green herbs because I think they really brighten up the beets’ earthiness. And my mom always cut them in cubes, so when I’m eating them as their own side dish (instead of in a salad), that’s how I do it (mom always knows best, right? ;) ).
(Yield: 2 servings)
3 medium-sized beets, washed and trimmed of stems and root
2 tsp butter
Fresh lemon wedges
Minced fresh green herbs, such as chives, parsley, or dill
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. Place beets in a deep casserole dish and add a splash of water to coat the bottom of the pan by about 1/4-inch; sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top. Cover pan with a tight fitting lid or with foil; roast until beets are tender, about 1 hour. (Beets are done when you insert a sharp paring knife into the center and it slips right out.) Let the beets sit until they’re cool enough to handle.
Peel the beets (the peel will come right off if you rub it a little), and slice or cut them into any shape you like. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat; add beets and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook until warm throughout. (Or you can caramelize the beets by adding a little canola or olive oil to the butter (or just using oil instead of the butter), cooking over medium-high heat, and letting them cook a bit longer to caramelize.)
Serve garnished with minced fresh green herbs, alongside fresh lemon wedges to squeeze on top.
Getting ready to cook…beets aren’t the prettiest veggie, but they sure are some of the sweetest…