Thursday, October 23, 2008

And The BEET Goes On

Beets enter farmers’ markets in early to mid summer and then again in the fall and early winter. Growers in very warm climates can supply organic beets to the markets year round through successive sowings and storage of the roots during the winter and spring months.

With a deep purplish red color and an earthy sweet flavor, beets are packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients. One cup of beets contain folate, antioxidants, manganese, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamins A, B and C, magnesium, tryptophan, iron, copper, phosphorus and only 74 calories. Not only are they good for you, beets are delicious and easy to prepare. Roasting is one of the easiest ways to cook them.

Roasted Beets:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wipe the beets clean and place them all on one large sheet of foil, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wrap them tightly in the foil. Place the foil packet in the oven and roast until they are tender when pierced with a knife, approximately 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slip the skin off with your fingers or use a paring knife. The beets are ready to eat or can be used in your favorite recipe. This simple and elegant salad is one of my favorites.

Roasted Beet Salad With Goat Cheese, Toasted Walnuts And Sherry Walnut Vinaigrette

For the roasted beet salad:

2 cups roasted beets quartered
2 ounces goat cheese crumbled
1/2 cup toasted walnuts

For the sherry walnut vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon shallots minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic finely minced
1/4 cup walnut oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a glass bowl mix the dry sherry, sherry vinegar, dijon mustard, sugar, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the walnut oil until emulsified.

To plate:

Toss the beets with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette and mound them in the center of a serving plater. Crumble the goat cheese over the beets and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts. Drizzle the plater with a little of the vinaigrette. Serves 2.

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