Meditations

Cook Beets in Foil, Not Water


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There are a multitude of reasons why you may not like beets. Okay, I can’t personally think of any, but I can gaurantee you that if you’re not fond of them, then it’s not because you’re baking them in foil.

That’s right. Baking beets in foil preserves their firmness, because they don’t get waterlogged, and it adds an extra dimension of roasty flavour that’s impossible to deny.

Begin with good raw product. Don’t buy beets that are grey and partly shriveled and lost their tops months ago. Take some nice, fresh beets about 2″ in diameter, with the green tops still on, and trim off the greens and the pointy root end. Toss ’em in a foil package and season with ground pepper and a dash of kosher salt, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Throw in a sprig of fresh thyme too, if you’ve got it handy. Seal the package (about five or six beets per), and bake right on the oven rack at 325 for an hour and a half or two. Don’t worry about the time too much – they’re not going to turn into mush on you. Take them out of the oven, let cool until you can handle them, then peel by rubbing off the skins with paper towel. The paper towel is supposed to keep the beet juice off of you, but I wind up making a mess of my hands anyway.

And now you’re ready to enjoy! Last night, I made ’em into a salad for Mark, Ben and the Andreas with watercress, candied walnuts, broiled goat cheese and celery – a dish inspired by one of David Hawksworth’s at West Restaurant. But do what you will. Just remember to cook those beets in foil, not water.

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