Ingredient Spotlight: Beets

Cook, Fall, In Season, Ingredient Spotlight

Ingredient Spotlight: Beets

After years of being overlooked, beets are enjoying some well-deserved time in the spotlight, featured on innovative restaurant menus throughout the country. And why not? Their sweet, earthy flavor gives vegetable dishes depth, and you can eat them raw, roasted, pureed and fried — the possibilities are endless. Here are some tips for cooking with beets this season, plus some new ways to enjoy them, straight from the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen.

 

Look for: Choose firm, rounded beets with smooth skins and no noticeable bruising. Fresh beets should have the greens attached and 1 to 2 inches of root end, which looks like a tail. Do not buy beets with wilted, browning leaves—the leafy greens indicate the freshness of the beets. The beets will not spoil if left at cool room temperature for a few days, but they do best when refrigerated for up to 10 days.

 

Prep Tips: Cut the greens from the beets as soon as you get home, leaving 1 to 2 inches of stem attached. Beet greens should be washed and cooked on the day you buy them.

 

Beets are best when cooked whole and unpeeled, then peeled and sliced, chopped or mashed afterward. Roasting beets intensifies their flavor and color; be sure to wrap them in aluminum foil first so you won’t have to clean the pan. If boiling beets, leave about 1 inch of the stem and the root end intact to keep the beets from “bleeding” into the cooking water. Once they are fork-tender, let them cool and then slip off their skins. When working with red and pink beets, be prepared for beet-red stains on your hands and countertops — you may want to work on waxed paper and wear gloves.

 

Ingredient Spotlight: Beets

 

Uses: These festive looking vegetables are served warm as a side dish, cold in salads, pickled or made into the famous beet soup, borscht. Young, fresh-looking, bright green beet greens from small or medium-sized beets are delicious. Sauté or steam them as you would spinach. Find more ideas below!

 

Recipe Ideas

 

Beet Carpaccio

Beet Carpaccio: Using a mandoline, thinly slice peeled multicolored beets and arrange overlapping slices on chilled plates. Top with microgreens. Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Finish with flaky sea salt and shaved pecorino romano.

 

Beet Tartare Crostini

Beet Tartare Crostini: Peel and finely dice roasted beets. Toss with olive oil, minced shallots, minced parsley, lemon juice, orange juice, grated orange zest, salt and pepper. Spoon the beet mixture on top of crostini and top with a dollop of creme fraiche and snipped fresh chives.

 

Beet Chips

Beet Chips: Peel beets and, using a mandoline, very thinly slice. In a large bowl, rinse beet slices until the water runs clear. Drain and dry well. In batches, fry beets in oil at 325°F until crispy, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. 

 

Chilled Beet Soup

Chilled Beet Soup: Saute 1 chopped shallot and 1 clove minced garlic in olive oil. Transfer to blender with 2 large peeled roasted beets, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, lemon juice and fresh dill. With blender running, add vegetable stock until the puree reaches the consistency of soup. Season with salt and serve garnished with yogurt and a dill sprig.

 

Beet Risotto

Beet Risotto: Saute small chopped onion in olive oil. Add Arborio rice and cook until lightly toasted. Add white wine and cook until evaporated. Add warm vegetable stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently, until rice is tender. Add diced roasted beets, butter and grated parmesan and stir vigorously until risotto turns pink. Finish with salt, pepper and shaved parmesan.

 

Roasted Beet Salad with Arugula, Walnuts & Goat Cheese

Roasted Beet Salad with Arugula, Walnuts & Goat Cheese: Whisk together chopped shallots, fresh orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut peeled roasted beets into wedges and marinate in vinaigrette for 15 minutes. Add arugula to beets and toss to combine. Top with toasted walnuts and crumbled goat cheese.

 

Find more tips and ideas for peak-season ingredients here!

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