Beets grow well in cool weather, so this is the perfect time of year to purchase sweet tasting beets. Select small to medium beets with firm, smooth skin and no soft spots or punctures. Those with stems and leaves still attached are best. The foliage should be green and fresh-looking.
A friend has had great success here in the south growing beets in his garden the past few months and he shared some of his bounty with me. Included in this post is one of the recipes I made with the beets he gave me. I was amazed at how flavorful, freshly harvested beets tasted.
Roasted Beet and Orange Salad
In this recipe, I used slices of roasted beets and fresh oranges with a shallot vinaigrette to make a colorful March salad.
3 medium beets, scrubbed
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced thin
2 teaspoons plus 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
2 medium oranges, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick rounds
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place beets on a large piece of heavy-duty foil on a baking sheet. Top with the 2 teaspoons oil, garlic and, then, season with salt and pepper.
Fold the foil around the beets and crimp the ends to form a packet. Roast the beets until tender.
Test with a sharp paring knife and if it slides in easily, they are cooked. It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to roast fresh beets.
The walnuts can be toasted in the oven on a piece of foil while the beets are roasting. They take about 5-6 minutes. Set aside to cool after toasting.
Remove the beets from the foil and let cool. Beets are very easy to peel after roasting and the skins slide right off. After peeling them, cut the beets into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 teaspoons oil, the shallot and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
On a large serving platter, alternate the roasted beets and fresh oranges. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the fresh oregano leaves and walnuts.
This salad can be served immediately or refrigerated until serving time.