This is one of those times when a recipe title is pretty much the recipe—it just doesn’t get any easier than this one, friends. I like beets. I can peel them and eat them straight from the garden, especially golden beets, but I realize not everyone enjoys this root vegetable quite the same way. The first time I sliced raw beets and passed a slice to my husband, his flavor receptors did not respond the same way mine did.
His response, “Tastes like dirt.”
We continued to eat the raw version in salads, I suppose mixing it with other vegetables and fruits helps mask the earthy flavor, or so we’ve come to describe it. Because beets are a nutritional powerhouse, it was important to find a way for both of us to enjoy them, not just tolerate them.
Tackling the challenge from two directions—buying golden beets and roasting—moved beets up the side dish scale quite a few marks. I think golden beets are slightly milder and can be more visually appealing, especially when they are served together. Roasting the beets until tender concentrates the natural sugars, balancing their pleasant earthiness (or as Matt would say, they taste less like dirt).
So we agree, roasting is best.
Most often, we top roasted vegetables with a pat of compound butter, but in this case the balsamic and feta dress the beets in fine fashion. We keep a good stock of aged balsamic vinegar on-hand for occasions just like this—to get dinner on the table quickly and deliciously. You can use traditional or flavored balsamic to enhance choice vegetables or simple salads, it really is a matter of preference.
For this dish, we used Blackberry-Ginger Balsamic, a new flavor we picked up from the Venice Olive Oil Company. The sweet tang of blackberry notes and bright, clean ginger undertones was a splendid pairing with the roasted beets. A sprinkle of salty feta perks everything up, creating a side dish we both look forward to again.
What are your favorite things to drizzle a little balsamic over?