Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Roasted beets in their (arguably) finest hour

Beet fans, get ready. This is one of my standby, time tested, crowd pleasing recipes that I've really been meaning to post since I started this blog. It seems like every time I've made it in the last year or so it's already been dark in the kitchen, which means no photos good enough for the blogosphere. I hope it proves worth the wait.

Salad of roasted beets with avocado, mint + lime

(adapted from AXE (ah-shay) restaurant in Venice).

The preparation of this is really simple. The only time consuming part is the roasting and peeling of the beets, but I can assure you that temporarily stained finger tips are a minor and worthwhile inconvenience for such a delicious dish. And the recipe (like all of mine) is very loose.

you'll need:

2 bunches small to medium size beets. (Mixed varieties are great. In this version I used red and chiogga.)

3 limes

1 large, ripe avocado (but not too ripe, you want it to hold it's own in the salad)

1 large handful of fresh mint leaves

1 medium - large shallot

good quality olive oil

sea salt


Heat oven to 400.

Wash and trim beets. Wrap each in a jacket of aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Pop the beets into the oven and roast for ~30 minutes. When they're ready, you should be able to easily slide a paring knife through the foil and into the center of the largest of your beets. When the beets are done, remove them from the oven and let them rest until their are warm, but you're able to handle them.

While the beets are cooling, prep the rest of your ingredients. Peel and mince the shallot, (you should have about 1/4 cup or so). Wash and prepare the mint leaves in a chiffonade (long, thin strips). Pit and slice your avo into bit size pieces. I usually leave this until just before mixing the salad together so the avo doesn't get brown. Juice the limes.

Now unwrap the beets and slide the skins off. They should come off very easily. Slice the beets into even, bite size chunks and/or wedges. In a large-ish bowl, toss the beets with a pour of olive oil, a little salt and pepper. They should taste good on their own at this point. Now add the lime juice (a bit at a time so you can control how limey you like your salad), the mint, the shallot and the avocado. You might want to add a little more oil at this point, depending on your personal preference. Mix everything well but gently. You don't want to smash your lovely pieces of avocado. Taste. You might find that you need more salt, more lime, or more mint.

And, yep, that's it. So delicious. I like to serve this with a pile of mixed greens and some yummy bread for lunch, but it also makes a beautiful summer dinner.

If you really want the flavors to come together, consider making the entire dish sans avocado the day before you want to serve it. Keep it in the fridge and then add the avocado when you're ready to serve. Something about a night spent together makes the lime and mint really come together.

Doesn't it look like a pile of jewels? I love beets.


Rachel said...

Oh wow. I'll be trying this soon. I love roasted beets, but I have to admit that I often go the lazy route and just buy the roasted, peeled beets from TJs to toss into my salads.

fresh365 said...

I don't really love beets, but I get a bunch from my CSA so I am looking for some great ways to prepare them. This looks amazing, so it's going on my list! Thanks!!

Amanda said...

We should probably be friends. Beets are the yummiest.

Secondstreetdesigns said...

I cannot wait to make this. I love beets and i am always looking for new ways to make them. I love your blog too, by the way! you are on my current list of favorites!

Vancouver Bride said...

this looks amazing!
i've already asked the hubby to pick up the ingredients on his way home so we can make it tonight!
thanks so much for sharing - can't wait to try it!

Teresa said...

I am so in love with beets. You have no idea.

fresh365 said...

I made this last night and devoured it! Soooo good!

Cooking With Dia said...

Beautiful photography and recipe!

Martha said...

It cannot have effect in actual fact, that is exactly what I think.