The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is the more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
Jitterbug Perfume — Tom Robbins
Do you ever read something you wish you had written? Something so well-crafted, so simple, yet sublime? That’s how I feel about the above paragraph. I should have written that. I’m the one obsessed with beets, born with an affinity to Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. No one understands beets like I do.
Of course, good writing and a passion for beets are two distinctly different things. Even if I have to let Tom Robbins say it for me, I’m content knowing I’ve chosen the most torrid of all vegetables as my favorite. Trust me, carrots, celery, even burdock root are no match for the wild and impassioned beet.
I love beets.
I belong to Grant Farms CSA program and yesterday was my first delivery of 26 weeks worth of organic vegetables, fruits and farm fresh eggs (I have a year-round egg share). Those of you who have been following this blog know I border on ardently evangelical when it comes to my local farmer friends and their freshly-harvested, seasonal produce.
I opened my CSA box last night and inside I found a bunch of deadly serious beets. Need I say more?
Deadly Serious Beet & Spinach Salad
what you need
1 pound beets
3 – 4 cups spinach leaves
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon agave nectar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
crumbled goat cheese (I use local Haystack Mountain goat cheese)
what you do
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim beets and save the leaves; please don’t throw them away, they are wonderful (see link below). Scrub the beets and place in a glass baking dish.* Pour about an inch or so of water into the dish and cover with foil. Roast for about 45 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the beets and the “heat” of your oven. Carefully (don’t spill the HOT beet water) remove beets from oven, set aside and let cool. Save the beet water for making smoothies. Seriously, let it cool and store it in a glass jar in the fridge – it makes for wonderfully healthy smoothie juice.
In the meantime, using a small bowl, whisk together diced garlic, shallots, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, agave and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. I usually put the mixture in a glass jar and shake like crazy. Shake, shake, shake your booty.
Once cooled, cut beets into 1/4 inch circular slices. (I never peel beets, I simply trim the stems and leaves and wash and scrub the beet root with a veggie scrubber before I roast or use them.)
Arrange spinach on plates, top with beets, chopped pecans and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing.
* I have a Le Creuset enamel-covered, cast iron French oven with lid that I use for roasting beets. It’s wonderful, but the above method works as well.
Go forth and sizzle with seriousness,
I’ll be posting weekly nutrition information and recipes depending on what Andy and the gang put in my big red Grant Farms CSA box each week. Stay tuned and leave a comment if you want ideas, help or information about farm-fresh food. Sign-up for emailed updates so you don’t miss anything.