I love beets. Don’t get me wrong. In fact, I have some roasted ones in my refrigerator that I’ve been eating on salads all week long. They’re good for you, are sweet, tasty, easy to prepare and store, and are readily available, but if I see one more beet salad on a restaurant menu I might just hurl (the menu).
I’m prepared to argue that beet salads have become home food. And thus, their pervasiveness on restaurant menus is just boring.
Here’s one of the problems – seasonality. Because beets are available all year, most restaurants don’t treat them as seasonal. But I happen to think that we should concentrate hardest on eating beets in the winter when there are few other items with which to embellish salads. Why would you add beets to a salad in the summer, when you have corn and tomatoes? Or in the spring when you have asparagus and sugar snap peas? Or in the fall when there are delicious roasted peppers and good, crisp apples for only a short time? If you’ve got a beet salad on the menu year-round, it’s just not special anymore.
One more thing: if you’re going to offer a beet salad, can you pair it with something else besides walnuts and goat cheese? Please?
Bye bye boring beet salads: Here are some interesting ways to cook with beets.
I can’t wait to try this beet tzatziki from the New York Times. It’s absolutely lovely to look at.
Chocolate Beet Brownies from Mariquita Farm sound intriguing.
For a wonderful side dish or the base for a vegetarian meal, try this Beet Roesti from Mark Bittman via NPR.
Here’s an Indian take on beet soup from Martha Stewart’s Whole Living.
Editor’s note: This is a new column by Vanessa Barrington. For the lighter side of all things foodie, read Overcooked weekly. Overcooked: helping you make the most of today’s trendiest ingredient…before it’s overdone. Be sure to catch Vanessa’s original EcoSalon column, The Green Plate, on the environmental, social, and political issues related to what and how we eat.
Image: Vanessa Barrington