Baby Yellow Beets
Did you know that beets and swiss chard belong to the same family? If you look at their leaves you can see the resemblance. These two also go well together and you can combine beets with the leaves of swiss chard quite nicely. I like beets and cook with them a lot in season, especially the little baby beets. In the winter I tend to make beet soup out of the larger ones and I often have homemade jars of pickled beets in the fridge.
They come in different shapes and varieties. The large round beets are the most common, but you can also get them elongated in different sizes. Then there are the baby beets, candy cane striped beets and the yellow and orange beets. The little yellow or orange beets are quite a treat. they look so beautiful and have a natural sweetness that works best with the simplest preparation. When buying beets try to get them with the greens still attached. The greens are edible and can be cooked like Swiss chard. Cooked beets and beets greens go well together as well.
How to cook them? You can steam, boil or roast them and even slice thinly or shred and eat them raw. Roasting concentrate their natural sugars and they become beautifully sweet. If you boil or steam them try not to trim the ends too much because their juice will escape and with it some of the flavour. I wash them well and keep them as intact as possible, then slip off the skin once they are cooked. The skin comes off easily, slipping off like a silk negligé:).
How to serve them? beet salads, beet soup, chilled beet soup with creme fraiche, as a vegetable dish, added to grain salads, pickled. Beets are good with goat cheese, blue cheese, walnuts and walnut oil. They go well with citrus (lemon and orange), balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, honey and maple. They are nice with mint, basil and tarragon, cumin, coriander and ginger.
For this particular recipe I roast the beets whole until tender. Once they are cooked through I slip off the skin leaving some of the root end intact for presentation and serve them with a light drizzle of balsamic and honey. You can serve them on their own, add them to salads or pile on a plate and serve as a vegetable alongside other food.
A word of caution: don’t get caught red handed. Wear thin kitchen gloves when handling beets as they will stain your hands.
2 bunches baby yellow beets (or red)
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (use dark balsamic for red beets)
2-3 tablespoon honey (can replace with agave syrup or maple)
Optional: 1 tablespoon olive oil
Wash the beets well but trim only minimally, leaving the tail end intact (you can shorten it if it’s too long).
Place the packet on a foil lined baking sheet and roast in 400℉ oven until tender, about 30 minutes or so, depending on the size and freshness of your beets.
When the beets are cooked through remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle them. They are easier to peel when they are still warm so don’t let them cook completely.
When you are ready to proceed cut off the bottom of each beet and slip off the skin, leaving the tail end intact.
Mix the vinegar and honey, taste and adjust so you get a nice sweet and tangy flavour.
Pour some of the dressing over the beets and allow to marinate a while.
Place the beets on a serving plate, drizzle with the dressing and serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: you can try it with balsamic crema. Since it is already sweet you may need less honey.
You can also combine the baby beets with other baby vegetables, see image above.