A healthy lunch or side dish. Use a variety of beets for various colours and levels of sweetness. Reds have a stronger flavour than chioggias, which are also known as candy stripes because they have rings of red and white when cut. Roasting beets brings out their natural sweetness. A drizzle of honey and balsamic vinegar with fresh mint marries all the flavours together.
12 to 16 assorted small beets, such as dark reds, chioggia, and golden (about 2 lb.)
5 tbsp olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp fresh small mint leaves, for garnish
Step 1: Heat the oven to 400°F.
Step 2: Put the beets in an ovenproof pan. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sprigs of thyme; toss to coat. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 25 minutes, or until a knife slides through the beets with ease.
Step 3: When cool enough to handle, peel the beets and cut into medium-size wedges. Set aside in a medium serving bowl.
Step 4: In a medium bowl, mix the honey, vinegar, the remaining 3 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper; pour over the beets and toss to coat. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with the mint.
Bill Taibe, LeFarm, Westport, Connecticut
Annie Farrell & betsy Fink, Millstone Farm, Wilton, Connecticut (beets)
Reprinted with permission from Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer's Harvest to Heat (2010 Taunton).