Saturday, January 21, 2006

Beet of this Rose

Music playing on the radio. Hillary Duff singing: "To the beet of my, to the beet of my, to the beet of my heart...."

Lately, I've been noticing beets just about everywhere.

It's been in dishes I've ordered at Compass and Roberto Passon, in recent food blogging recipes, and for sale at the farmer's markets.

Inspired by all this, I decided to concoct a beet recipe of my own. I had friends coming over to celebrate a birthday and I volunteered to make a dish of carbs. I figured slightly firm potatoes would go nicely with roasted beets. Taking a cue from Shauna, I added garlic, cilantro, tomatoes and capers. I decided to use balsamic vinegar instead of her recommended tomato vinegar--I love the sweetness of balsamic and I thought it would cut into the blandness of the potatoes.

My friends brought marinated eel and roasted veggies and we washed it all down with a bottle of 2002 Carneros Chardonnay from Larson Family Winery along with a bottle of 2004 Meridian Pinot Noir Central Coast. Between bites, we giggled and laughed at some of the more ridiculous outfits worn by the figure skaters at US Nationals. Who knew you could pair sequins and beets for a dinner with friends?

Roasted Beets with baby potatoes and balsamic vinegar

4 lb. red beets
2 lb. baby fingerling potatoes
Olive Oil
Freshly ground pepper
4 Tomatoes (vine ripened), cut into 1-2 in. chunks
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
½ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 ½ tbsp. non-pareil capers
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Smother unpeeled beets in olive oil and season generously with salt and ground pepper. Place in a pan and cover with foil.

Roast in the oven for about 50 min (I tend to check it a few times with a knife) or until tender. Remove from oven, cool, de-skin and then chill in the refrigerator.

While the beets are roasting and chilling, boil potatoes until tender, yet still a little firm (unless you like your potatoes mushy). Drain the potatoes, let them cool and then cut into 1-2 in. chunks. Set aside.

Cut the beets into 1-2 in. chunks and place in a large bowl. Mix and gently stir in the tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, capers and balsamic vinegar. Add the potatoes and stir very gently. Chill in the fridge for an hour.

Serves 6-8 people


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