This summer, I purchased a CSA (community supported agriculture) veggie share for the first time. After work on Thursdays, I dashed over to my pickup location.
Like a contestant on Food Network’s Chopped, I couldn’t wait to open my box and inspect the contents: fresh, locally grown produce for a week’s worth of meals.
And, beets. Bunches and bunches of fresh beets. Traditional red and heirloom Chioggia.
As many foodies will attest, beets are delicious when quartered, slathered with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled lightly with salt and slow roasted in the oven. I could eat beets every day when I cook them this way. Or so I thought.
Halfway through my CSA season, I had already eaten my yearly quota of roasted beets. Determined not to send any beets to the compost bin, I asked friends and neighbors for their best beet recipes.
I am, after all, my household’s food buyer, cook and designated eater of all veggies no one else will touch. Like beets.
What’s a CSA? In the United States, CSA or Community Supported Agriculture gives city residents direct access to high quality, locally grown produce and other farm products like eggs, cheese and meat. At the onset of the growing season, you subscribe to a share of vegetables and other products from a regional farmer, paying the full subscription price upfront. During the growing season, you pick up your weekly CSA share or box at a convenient neighborhood location.
Food Fact: Chioggia (kee-oh-jah) is an Italian heirloom variety that’s sweeter than all-red beets. Slice a Chioggia crosswise to see its distinctive red and white bull’s eye pattern.
Recipe SOS: Are you a beet-lover? Was this year’s garden overrun with beets? Did your CSA box contain too many beets? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, I need your help. Please help me expand my repertoire by sharing your favorite beet recipes. I want to be ready for next year’s onslaught.
In the meantime, here is a recipe for Beet Chips that became my best friend this summer. It has just three ingredients: whole fresh beets, extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt.
Slice beets very thinly, toss in olive oil and arrange in single layer on rimmed baking sheets.
Bake as directed, sprinkle with salt and enjoy.
To create thin, even slices, use a mandoline slicer. I‘ve also sliced beets with a sharp knife. The slices, however, were thicker and uneven, requiring longer baking times.
If you’ve worked with fresh beets, you know that beet juice stains everything from fingers and cutting board to favorite aprons and dish towels. To prevent staining, wear food-safe gloves while handling cut beets and wash or wipe tools and surfaces immediately after slicing the beets.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the thickness of the beet slices
Makes 1 to 2 servings
2 medium beets, any variety
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F with racks in middle positions. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper (optional if using nonstick baking sheet).
2. Gently scrub beets to remove dirt and debris. Rinse well, pat dry and trim ends. Peel beets with vegetable peeler if outer skins are tough. Slice into 1/16-inch thick slices using a mandoline slicer. Place beet slices in a large bowl and toss with extra-virgin olive oil. Each slice should have a thin coat of oil.
3. On each baking sheet, arrange slices in a single layer. Note that beets shrink significantly during baking.
4. Bake 20 minutes. Rotate sheets. Bake for another 10 to 20 minutes. Beets burn easily so watch them carefully. I remove chips as they become dry and crisp.
5. Transfer hot chips to a wire cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle with sea salt, if desired. Chips crisp even more as they cool. Store cooled chips in an airtight container. Enjoy plain or with a favorite dip.
Categories: Food & Recipes