|Right Food for the Season - Early Summer|
|Written by Jon Ross-Wiley|
Beets, beets, the magical root, the more you eat the more you...permanently dye your hands, kitchen, and clothes bright red. Is it worth it? Last night's trip to the farm and subsequently the grill boomed a resounding "yes." If you have never been a beet fan, or you have fallen out of love with them over the years, I strongly suggest you try them on for size again. I actually wouldn't have classified myself as a staunch beet enthusiast before last night's foray. I don't look for them on menus, and I generally pass up the cold variety at the salad bar. Something about them at the farm yesterday caught my attention, however. I think much of it had to do with the fact that they had literally just been harvested. There is something very special about a one-hour , ground-to-plate turnaround. It's basically the mission of Local In Season at its very best. My recommended prep for beets is as follows.
Slice the beets; thinly for a quick cook time, and 1/4 thick for a bit more crunch. Place the beet slices in a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Season to taste. I simply used kosher salt and black pepper this time around, but red pepper flakes and garlic salt add a nice touch as well. Mix the beets so that they are lightly covered with olive oil. Pour the mixture onto a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and tent. Place the the foil package on the grill over a medium flame. Thin slices will soften quickly; done in about 15 minutes, but you will want to give the thicker slices at 25-30 minutes. Once steamed to your desired tenderness, remove the beets from the foil and place back on the grill...turn up the heat here to get a nice sear. Grill marks just make food taste better.
While this prep is super quick, I realized that the prep had been going on for weeks. The beets picked up so many subtle flavors from the items previously cooked on my grill. I keep a pretty clean grill (let's just call it well-seasoned), but the char on my beets clearly carried some hints of hot peppers and garlic. So start your prep now. Grill up some steaks, burgers, maybe some nice, spicy homemade sausage and let your beets be the beneficiaries of all that grill goodness. Beets...get 'em while they're hot!
(Photo courtesy of Venezia Michalsen)