You can’t “beet” the Farmers Market
Last Saturday I stopped by the Placerville Farmers Market for the first time this year. I was amazed at all the fresh fruits and veggies that were available this early in the season. I was also surprised about the amount of people that were there until I remembered that the Wagon Train was in town for their annual parade. I did not stick around for that, because it gets kind of crazy in town, but it is certainly an interesting and fun event that’s been around a very long time.
I love to go to the Farmers Market because there are always lots of interesting things and people to see. The vibrant colors of the fruits, vegetables and flowers are a photographers candy store.
I have never been a big fan of beets, but Yes!Chef! hinted around for me to pick some up if I saw any. He normally would have gone with me, but he had another appointment, so I was on my own. I found these pretty peach-colored beets next to the (yukky) red ones and so I asked the seller what the difference was between the two. He said that the peach ones had a milder flavor. Well, folks, that’s all it took to sell me.
Yes, there were all kinds of things to look at and to buy. I ended up purchasing some torpedo red onions, some peach colored beets, an artichoke flower and some fresh cured bacon.
I thought the beets looked pretty, but I was skeptical as to their taste. My only experience with beets has been with canned beets that occasionally show up in a salad when you are out to dinner at a less than fancy place…one or two big red slices sitting on top of a perfectly good salad, leaving a messy red stain on top of the too much blue cheese dressing. (You know the type of restaurant I’m talking about…good food, but homey.) Invariably everyone at the table stabs the beet with their forks, holds them up in the air and says, “Does anyone want my beet?” My husband (and my mom) have been the only takers that I am aware of. If no one spoke up, the beet ended up on the side of the plate along with any lettuce pieces that might have been tainted with any “beet juice”.
Needless to say, my husband was pleased with my purchase and set about roasting the beets for the salad that he had in mind.
After Roasting, they became beautiful…
Because I was a little skeptical, but a good trooper, Yes!Chef made our first Gin and Tonics of the season. And…bonus…he made roasted chicken on the barbie.
I would like to take just a paragraph to mention that Yes!Chef! bought himself a brand new Weber barbecue. I was a little shocked because he has owned the old one since before we met…which was a long time ago. I asked him if he was going to throw the old one away and this is the look he gave me. “No!”, he said as if I asked him if he was going to give away his first born. “I will use it as a smoker, ” he said with a loving glance towards the old, decrepit Weber. I was kind of glad for this attitude because I would hate for him to have a “she’s old and doesn’t work as well as she used to, so I’m going to dump her” attitude towards this writer/photographer.
He finished up the chicken on the grill and while it was resting he made a delicious beet salad.
The beets were tender and sweet. The Mandarin oranges were juicy and, well, Mandarin Orange-y. There was a crunch added with the walnuts and the Parmesan added the salty flavor. It was a very refreshing and (surprisingly to me) tasty salad. The roasted chicken went perfectly with the salad. And that was our Saturday night dinner. Another winner from Yes!Chef!.
Here’s the recipe:
- 4 medium mild beets, tops removed and scrubbed
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 can Mandarin Oranges, drained, but reserving juice
- 1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Parmesan Cheese, grated with a large hole grater
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put a large piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and put the beets on it. Drizzle olive oil over them and wrap them tightly in the foil, making a packet. Roast until a knife inserted into the largest beet meets no resistance, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool and remove the skins by rubbing the beets with a paper towel.
Thinly slice the beets and arrange on serving plates. Scatter the orange segments and walnuts over the sliced beets. Drizle the plates with olive oil and reserved Mandarin Orange juice over each plate. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with grated Parmesan Cheese and serve.
The above recipe was adapted from this one.
If you are the type of person who fork stabs the one red slice of canned beets from your salad and waves it in the air, hoping to give it to someone else in your dining party because “…if it looks creepy, it must taste creepy”, then I know you are a good candidate for trying this beet salad. It not only does not look creepy, it is actually pretty. And! It tastes great. Try it, then let me know.