Okay - so Beets are one of those really great foods that kind of got a bad rap.
Most people associate beets with either coming out of a can - or being boiled to death and mushy.
But in fact - beets can be incredibly flavorful - not to mention being super jam-packed with vitamins!!
You just need to know how to cook 'em right!
I had my first *revelatory* beet experience when I started working for the wonderful Dana Tommasino at Woodward's Gardens
She was so passionate about, well, EVERYthing - especially when it came to the philosophy of really showcasing the food you were cooking.
The flavor & integrity of the vegetable should come first.
She made this signature dish with beautiful roasted beets and nutty organic Farro - that to this day, is one of my favorites.
I adapted the recipe slightly by using a technique that my friend, Chi had shown me.
The best way to cook beets is by roasting them - it preserves the flavor & retains the moisture.
Basically - you get a roasting pan, it can be a sheet pan or even a really big sautee pan,
you coat the beets in olive oil, salt & pepper - cover them in tin foil tightly - and throw 'em in a 350 degree oven for an hour or two - until they're tender.
What Chi showed me was great - throw some dried whole spices in the roasting pan with the beets - and as the beets are "steaming" themselves out, they absorb all those great flavors from the spices!
Pictured below are the spices I chose to roast my beets with. I'm a little more than OBSESSED with Cardamom, so theres a lot of that in there. Along with Cardamom we got some Allspice, Clove, Star Anise, Juniper Berries & dried Orange Peel. I always get the freshest dried spices that I can - from Scarlet Sage in the Mission.
Then uncover them, and let them cool slightly .
Before they're fully cooled, while they're still a little bit warm - peel them with a paper towel. The skins come off a lot easier when they're warm like this - you can wait until they're fully cooled, but you'll end up working at it for a lot longer.
Once the beets are roasted - cut them to edible bite-sized slices, and toss them with some balsamic, oil & some s&p.
Then you're ready to add them just about anything!
To prepare the infamous Woodwards Garden farro salad, simply follow the recipe a few posts back about how to cook the farro (in my dinner party post).
Cook the farro - then toss with the beets, a little more balsamic & olive oil - and then perhaps a lovely herb of your choice. I really like the beets with Mint - it adds a really nice addition to the spices that come through with the farro. You could also do Chives, Tarragon or Basil.
Last - you'll want to top the salad off with some fresh goat cheese - it really just brings it all together.
I served this recently for an event I did for the fabulous Brawlio, and received rave reviews!