Beautiful Beets

Beets are one of my most favorite vegetables but that appreciation is relatively new. They are on a list of foods that as a kid I wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole. We never had beets in the house growing up and the only time I saw them anywhere was at a salad bar or a friend’s house. And those were pickled. Ugh! I don’t regret missing out on all those roots but I am glad my tastes have matured.
When did my opinion change? I can’t say, but now I’ll eat beets anyway, any time. The colors are amazing. The flavor and texture are crave-worthy. And chefs seem to be finding great ways to present them. Even a simple preparation can be delectable.
Last week, as part of my Tucson Italian class, I had the ravioli caprino at Tavolino. Made with beet pasta, the ravioli are filled with goat cheese and served with a light tomato sauce. In Italian beet is ‘barbabietole’.DSCN1017
Another way beets are served at Tavolino is this beautiful salad with spinach, toasted walnuts and goat cheese.

The Heirloom Beet salad at NoRth Italian mixes red and yellow beets with apples, arugula, hazelnuts, and ricotta salata with a healthy dollop of lemon crème fraiche.
And last year at the World Margarita Championship  there was a cocktail with beet juice. I think it was from Kalina Russian restaurant. The color was stunning.DSCN1173

Kalina also has several beet dishes on the menu including a salad and two borschts. A while back at Kalina I enjoyed an interesting dish featuring beets. It’s called herring wearing a fur coat. The dish consisted of shredded red beets, onions, carrots, apples and chopped herring in a cocktail glass all topped with mayonnaisse. Sounds weird but this traditional Russian dish was fantastic. Reading this post, I remembered that I did liked herring as a kid. Hmm, I guess I was an odd little kid or at least had an odd palate.
The beets shown here are from last year’s backyard garden.DSCN0847