To sell a house, forget baking cookies just before prospective buyers arrive, so last-century passé! Instead, roast beets wrapped in salt and horseradish and citrus zest. Oh my, who knew that horseradish could smell so good? (And besides, how could I resist an addition to all the ways to cook beets?)
The recipe comes from the February 2008 issue of Bon Appetit, bookmarked in a dozen spots for intriguing new ideas for cooking vegetables. This is the first of several, I suspect, to appear here ...
SO IS THIS A NOVELTY or the LATEST & GREATEST? Well, I'm not sure. The aroma while baking was -- wait, you already know that was amazing. And then -- it was easy enough to crack open the salt layer but once that was off, the beets were hard to peel, a real surprise since after beets bake (wrapped in foil, say, like the ones pictured behind the salt mounds), the peels slip off as easily as banana peels, no trouble. (Possible explanation: The skin-level dryness may have been caused by the difficulty I had getting the salt-horseradish mixture to adhere to the entire beet, exposing a band around the middle.) And the salt-roasted beets tasted like, well, roasted beets. (Possible explanation: I didn't have fresh thyme the recipe called for, and only a small amount of lemon zest. So it's possible that these flavors would have infused into the beet flesh.) I'll have to try again, to see. And I'm definitely looking forward to that horseradish scent wafting through the house ... and the horseradish crème fraîche , which was wonderful.
~ Harvard Beets, an American classic ~
~ Beets & Feta, my favorite beet salad,
the one I serve to people who aren't yet turned onto beet goodness ~
~ Karelian Borscht, from Kitchen Parade, a favorite from my time in Finland ~
~ Those Pink Potatoes, from Kitchen Parade, the casserole that took a party by storm ~
~ still more beet recipes ~
~ one year ago this week, Simple Skillet Green Beans,
what just 1/4 teaspoon of sugar does to beans ~
~ two years ago today, Cashew Chicken Curry, from Kitchen Parade,
a wonderful curry that reminds me of London take-away ~
Time to table: 2 hours
1 pound fresh beets (about 3), washed well, tail trimmed about an inch long, top trimmed without cutting into the beet itself (this is to keep the beet juice inside)
2 cups kosher salt
5 tablespoons horseradish
2 tablespoons fresh thyme (I recommend trying this, for more special flavor)
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (ditto)
HORSERADISH SAUCE - more than enough for the beets
1 cup crème fraîche (how to make homemade crème fraîche) or sour cream
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon chopped chives (the extra color would be nice)
2 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar (I used a gorgeous port vinegar from O Olive Oil)
Preheat oven to 375F. Mix the salt, horseradish, thyme and zest. On a baking sheet, create a pile of salt mixture for each beet and press beet into it. Cover each beet with the remaining salt, using your hands to encase the beet in salt, covering completely. Roast for 1 3/4 hours. Remove from oven, crack off salt. Peel the beets, slice, place on plates, drizzle with horseradish sauce.
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