I’ve always loved beets. I grew up eating them pickled–slightly sweet but tangy–the way my mom and grandmother would can them every summer fresh from the garden. In the last few years I find them constantly at farmers’ markets, and I’ve started cooking them other ways, too. My favorite is to simply roast them (probably no surprise…I really like roasted vegetables).
When making the menu for this week, I was looking for recipes that used things I’d picked up at the farmer’s market (beets being one of them), and I stumbled upon this recipe on a Google search. Okay, I lied. I wasn’t Googling. I went straight to the Martha Stewart website because I had a gut feeling she’d have some wonderful beet recipe. After all, my mom has always claimed that I’m actually adopted and Martha is my real mother. “Martha Dearest knows best!” In no time, I discovered Martha Stewart really did have a recipe for a “Tomato-Beet Salad;” however, until a couple of nights ago, I’d never really considered pairing roasted beets with raw summer, heirloom tomatoes. Clearly there’s a reason we blindly follow and always listen to Martha Stewart. It was delicious. As I sit here to write this, my mouth is watering.
The beets melt in your mouth, earthy and slightly sweet. There’s no need for vinegar or lemon juice in this salad: the tomato provides its own acid and cuts trough the sweet beet. (Do make sure the tomatoes you use are top-notch and in-season. This is not a greenhouse, mealy winter tomatoes kinda dish.)
Martha tops the salad with some crumbled feta; I didn’t listen and used chevre (a creamy, less salty goat cheese), which was wonderful. The cheese was nice but not necessary; it could easily be omitted, especially if you are on a strict diet to lower cholesterol. I chose to keep the cheese in the salad because I hadn’t eaten cheese in over a week, and I wanted a little!
She also recommends using cilantro, which I happened to have from the farmer’s market, though basil or tarragon would be nice variations.
This is a side, but I ate it as a main and was satisfied. Though, it would be a great side for grilled or seared fish.
A note about roasting the beets: the recipe says to use 1lb of “small” beets. I had two very large beets that weighed 1 lb, so I had to roast mine for 120 minutes instead of 75. Keep that in mind based on your beet size and plan accordingly!
Enjoy. Martha’s watching.