1 bunch whole beets, washed
1 box kosher salt
Place beets in an oven-proof pan or dish (I will often use a bread loaf pan) and fully cover with salt.
Put into a preheated 375 degree oven and bake 45-60 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick can be inserted without resistance. Let cool at least 15 minutes.
Remove beets from the salt and, using a towel, gently slide the skins off of the beets. If the beets are not fully cooked, the skins will be very difficult to remove, but never fear because you can always cut them off with a paring knife or vegetable peeler later.
Set them aside until assembly.
Side note — Salt-roasted beets are absolutely delicious and can be used in a number of ways: sliced into salads, purêed with a little coconut oil and lime juice to make a tasty dip, or sliced super thin and sprinkled with flaky sea salt and chili oil to replace a beef carpaccio.
½ c cherries, halved and pitted
¼ c red wine vinegar
½ lemon, juice and all
¾ c water, boiling
2 sprigs, tarragon stems
2 sprigs anise hyssop (omit if you cannot find)
1 Tbs dried Hibiscus (Jamaica)
1 ea star anise
1 tsp black peppercorn
To taste salt (about 1 Tbs)
To taste sugar (about 2 Tbs)
Combine all ingredients except for the cherries into a pot or pint container to fully infuse and dissolve the salt and sugar.
Add the halved and pitted cherries and be sure that they are fully covered.
Set aside to cool.
These will keep covered in your fridge for at least 2 weeks.
They are a delicious addition to a cheese and charcuterie board, sprinkled into a salad, garnished on roasted duck or chicken, or just eaten as-is. When they’re gone, you can make a delicious and refreshing drink by adding 1 part pickling liquid to 3 parts fizzy water and garnish with a lime slice — yum!
Creamy-Roasted Zucchini Purée:
1 onion, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then julienned
2-3 zucchini (yellow preferred, but any color will do)
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
4 tsp butter
To taste extra virgin olive oil (probably about ¼ c)
To taste salt (about 1-2 Tbs)
½ lemon, sliced super thin (on a mandolin if you have one), seeds removed
Coat a large skillet with olive oil, then add the ingredients in as even a layer as possible.
Season with salt and dollop the butter all over the surface.
Put into a preheated 375 degree oven for about 45-60 minutes, until everything is falling apart because it’s so tender.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape all of the contents of the pan into a food processor or high-powered blender and purée until it is smooth and lump free.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
This will be used as the base to our dish, but has a number of applications, such as a pasta sauce, to dress a grain salad, or even as a dip.
Lemon Olive Oil Spinach:
½ bunch spinach, washed and chiffonaded
¼ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil with grated citrus zest
To taste, lemon juice (probably juice of ½ the lemon)
1 spring onion, sliced thinly (If you cannot find spring onions, you can sub the white part of 2 scallions)
Place the sliced scallions in a bowl and season with salt and lemon juice to taste and massage them to ensure that every slice is coated.
Add the chiffoaded spinach.
Toss together and add the olive oil to taste. You may not need to use it all — you are looking for a barely-there light sheen over the greens and not enough to weigh them down.
- Onto your plate or platter, spoon a few swooshes of zucchini purée.
- Then place your salt-roasted beets (cut into wedges or rounds or left whole depending on their size).
- Drop the pickled cherries, drained of their liquid, in a carefree manner over the beets.
- Tuck little pinches of the greens in the nooks around the beets and cherries.
- Sprinkle with a last dusting of flaky sea salt and it’s ready!
Yield: 4-6 servings depending on size of beets and appetite of the eaters
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes