Today I went to La Brea bakery, which I’m not a fan of since their bread is always as leathery as a Floridian granny who still oils and tans on the hottest July days, you know the old girl. And the prices are so high that you practically have to shove a wheelbarrow full of cash into the cobblestoned shop to buy a loaf. Well, today I had a hankering for a raisiny nutty bread, so I thought I’d bite the bullet and fork over the dough until I discovered that it costs $16.00 for a loaf!
‘Six?’ I asked, to which she replied, ‘sixteen!’ Mon Dieu! Their brains must be pickled!
Speaking of pickled, let’s make pickled beets!
I love California. I love the markets of California. I love that California showers us with splendiferous gifts like these lovely beets as gargantuan and golden as le beau soleil. When I saw them at the market, I immediately became excited about putting this recipe on the blog. These are the beets that all the fancy restaurants are making these days, and when you see how easy it is, you’ll be making beets to beat the band!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Any kind of beets: golden, like the ones I have here, red, or chioggia (the pink ones). Or you can roast a variety. Just remember, if you decide you want to make red ones to go with your gold and pinks, roast them in a separate pan or they will stain the other beets with their beautiful red juices. You should also toss them in a separate bowl for the same reason. You’ll also need a good sized shallot, some red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt.
OK. Preheat your ov to 350˚. While it’s preheating, go ahead and mince your shallot, and macerate it in some of the red wine vinegar. You remember how to do this, yeah? Just mince your shallots, put them in a dish, like the white one pictured above, and pour some vinegar over them to pickle them. You can do this while the beets are roasting.
Great. Now slice the green tops off of your beets and give them a good rinse. Fill a pan with about a half-inch of water and get your beets in there.
Cover the pan tightly with foil. Pop them into the oven. Make sure the beets in your bunch are uniform, or some will cook faster than others. Smaller beets will generally take about 1 hour to cook. Because mine are such monsters, they will take about an hour and a half. When your beets are done roasting, and you’ll know because when you pierce them with a knife, it will go through smoothly with very little resistance, like this:
Let them cool enough so that you can handle them without burning your fingers. Now, peel them. See how easy? They’re pretty slippery and the skins just come right off. It’s almost euphoric.
You may have to slice off a black top or two, but sometimes you can just peel it away with the skins.
Look at how lovely!
Now slice them up. I made wedges, but you can slice them crosswise into disks to show off their lovely rings, which is especially nice with the chioggias because the rings are really vivid.
Now, pour your vinegar and shallots over the beets and salt to taste. Toss them gently.
Now pour in some olive oil, toss.
Taste for seasoning. Adjust. The beets will absorb the vinegar, salt and oil. So like to let it all macerate for about 15 minutes before serving, et, voila! Pickled beets as worthy as any restaurant’s.
I’m having mine with an antipasto plate with Cowgirl Creamery’s ‘Red Hawk’ cheese, a divinely stinky washed rind cheese, a few slices of proscuitto,
and a gorgeous ($4.00) sourdough baguette from Tavern’s Larder (le pain de Garde-Manger de la Taverne ça si bon!)
You could toss yours into a salad, or they can be the star of the show. Scatter some on a plate, crumble a creamy feta and some toasted walnuts over the top, then scatter with arugula that you’ve tossed in a red wine vinaigrette. Or, scatter some on a plate, sprinkle some sieved hard boiled egg over the top, sprinkle with fresh marjoram and tarragon, then toss some mâche with a little vinaigrette and arrange the lovely plumes over the top. Whatever you decide. . .
Mangia bene, vivi felice!