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.

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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