Ever since tasting my first beet at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco during the summer of 2005, I’ve ordered them time and again whenever they appeared on a restaurant’s menu. Beets are so naturally sweet and appealing that most places prepare them very simply, with rich crumbles of goat cheese and a light vinaigrette. Every time I dug into one of these minimally fussed salads, I thought of how easy it would be to replicate the dish at home. I finally tried my hand at preparing beets in my own kitchen last week, and not only was it gloriously easy, but my hands weren’t the least bit stained.
This recipe for roasted beets comes from the most popular cookbook in my home, the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. When buying beets, look for bunches of uniformly sized beets so that they will roast for the same amount of time. If the beets are different sizes, remove the smaller ones from the oven as they become tender. Use this basic recipe as a starting point; the variations (Think: cheeses, herbs, nuts, vinegars) are deliciously endless.
- 4 medium beets (1 pound), greens discarded and scrubbed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the beets individually in foil (photo 2) and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until a skewer can be inserted easily into a beet, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove the beets from the oven, open the foil packets, and allow to cool for 10 minutes. To peel, cradle a roasted beet in several layers of paper towels in your hands and gently rub off the skin (photos 3 and 4).
Slice the beets 1/4 inch thick, then toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.