If you want to torture me, go ahead and feed me beets from a can.
I'm convinced there's a whole generation of people who hate beets because they've never tasted one that's fresh. Not that roasting beets is without its hazards. I mean, you're going to stain your hands. And your clothing. That's a given.
Oh, and your cutting board.
And if you pair the beets with anything -- say, goat cheese -- and you handle the beets before the cheese? The cheese will turn pink.
I think we can all agree that pink cheese is a turnoff.
OK, I'm not doing a very good job selling you on beets. Let's start again...
Beets are fabulous and largely unsung root vegetables that lend their vibrant garnet color to salads and side dishes. And though they can take a while to mellow and soften, beets wrapped in foil and tossed in the oven leave you plenty of time to do other things: clean your gutters, catch up on your Daily Shows, or update your Facebook status ("Cheryl can't wait for her beets to be DONE!").
When your beets have finished roasting, and you slip off their skins, simply slice them up and arrange them, aesthetically, on a platter. That's it. Couldn't be easier.
Well, it helps if you wear an apron and have a Chlorox bleach pen on the premises. (And if you're a hand model, please consider my recipe for Cucumber-Lime Salad with Feta and Mint or Fennel-Orange Salad with Onions and Capers instead. Step away from the beets.)
Just, wait, one more thing: I don't want to overshare here, but some people experience a change in the color of their, well, tinkle, after eating beets.
My understanding (speaking strictly as a culinary professional) is that this is perfectly normal. So don't call your doctor if this happens to you, as you're likely to feel very silly afterward.
Or so I'm told.
Recipe for Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
Tender roasted beets pair beautifully with tangy cheese, toasted walnuts, and fresh parsley. No fancy vinaigrette required -- just drizzle the lot with some walnut oil and a few drops of thick balsamic vinegar.
3 large beets (about 1 pound total), scrubbed and trimmed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
Coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets on a large plate and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and wrap each beet separately in tin foil. Place in a small baking pan.
Roast for about an hour and 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out with only slight resistance.
Very, very carefully open the foil to allow the steam to escape. Let beets rest until cool enough to handle.
Don an apron and, using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, slip off the skins. Refrigerate the beets, covered, until cold.
Slice beets thickly and arrange on a platter. Scatter with walnuts and goat cheese. (Use a fork when handling the cheese, or the beet juice on your hands will turn the cheese pink). Arrange the parsley alongside. Drizzle with the walnut oil, a few drops of good balsamic, and a nice sprinkling of coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper, if desired.