I just finished telling you why not to boil vegetables in my roast chard recipe. Now please enjoy this recipe for boiled beets. Wha? Everything I said in the linked post is true. Roast beats are delicious, and certainly more boldly flavored than these, but this recipe is about subtlety, texture, and letting some really great olive oil play equal co-star. Sure, boiling doesn’t bring out and intensify flavors like dry heat methods, but it is gentle, and preserves the tender, moist texture of lovely beets. A word about slicing… Slicing them thin and evenly is hard. If your beets are small enough, try the slicing face of your box grater. If you have a mandolin or even a meat slicer, you should give that I try. I sliced these by hand, and really, even thinner would have been better.
This recipe is about simplicity. Three ingredients. Get the best ingredients you can, and treat them with care, and even simple combinations can be outstanding. In fact, the simplest recipes are almost always my favorites. If simplicity isn’t your thing, I wouldn’t harumph too much if you tried sprinkling on a little good balsamic vinegar, or some fresh ground pepper, or even some little blobs of chevre. But don’t push your luck.
BEATS, OLIVE OIL AND SALT
Inspired by a dish I had at The Harvest Vine
- Two large beets. Gold beets are delicious too, and make a gorgeous visual contrast if you alternate them
- Good extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt. Slightly course is nice, because it adds some texture
Cover the beets with water and boil. It will take between 20 minutes and 40 minutes depending on the size of the beets. Check by piercing with a thin blade. You want to feel similar (low) resistance from edge to center. Don’t check too many times, each time you do, you leave a wound in the beet that will make the slices ugly later. Let cool enough that you can handle them, then scrape the skin off with the edge of a spoon or fork. Slice as thin as you can with a sharp knife, slicer, or mandolin. Arrange the slices on a platter, and drizzle with really good oil, and sprinkle with course salt.