Q. How do you roast beets. Do you cut them up first?
— Bonnie F.
A. It’s easy to roast beets, no matter the style you use.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then clean your beets. Cut off the greens and reserve for another use. Rinse the whole beets and lay them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Cover with a bit of olive oil. About.com recommends a little more if you are going to use the beets in a salad, then using the beet-infused oil in your dressing. You can do this with any type of beet, including the more popular red, orange, white or chiogga (candy-striped).
Fold up the foil into a pouch and slip it into the oven. Bake for an hour at least and test for doneness by pricking one with a fork. If your beets are of different sizes, the smaller ones will cook sooner and you can remove those. Return the remaining beets to the oven and cook until tender.
Once the beets are ready, peel them and chop into the desired sizes.
Here’s a roasted beet salad recipe freely adapted from the new edition of “The Good Housekeeping Cookbook.”
Roasted Beet and Pistachio Salad
6-8 medium-sized beets, roasted
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or beet-infused oil)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
4 cups field greens and fresh herbs
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, roasted in foil for at least 4 minutes alongside the beets
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Once the beets are roasted, peeled and cooled, cut into chunks. Set aside.
Make a dressing from the balsamic vinegar, mustard, oil, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning to your taste.
Toss some of it with the field greens and line the bottom of your serving dish. Start with a little and toss for about 1 minute to make sure the greens are covered but not drowning.
Then toss some of the dressing on the beets and toss to make sure they are coated but not slick or oily. You may have some dressing left over.
Place the beets on top of the greens. Then sprinkle on the pistachios, the blue cheese and the mint. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Freely adapted from “The Good Housekeeping Cookbook”