San Francisco used to be a beat (nik) town. Now, it is a beet town. What do I mean by this, you ask? Well, I think that a roasted beet and goat cheese salad is served at 7 out of 10 restaurants in the bay area. The beet salad has taken over, and everyone loves roasted beets! Beets come in several different varieties, and you can generally find two or three at the Farmer’s market. The most common beet is the purple or red variety, followed by yellow beets and Chioggia beets—those are the pretty striped ones. When you purchase beets at the market, they may have their greens attached. It’s kind of like a two for one deal. The greens are absolutely edible, and you can use them in soups (Watch out: If you are using the greens from purple beets the color will bleed into the soup.) sauté, or stir fry them. Tender, baby beet leaves are a great addition to salads. If you are not going to use the beets for several days, separate the beets from the greens, leaving a couple inches of stem attached. This will stop the greens from drawing out moisture from the beets. Leaving some of the stem attached to the beet root will keep it from bleeding. The greens will keep about 5 days or so in the fridge and beet root can last up to a couple of weeks in your fridge. Beets are high in sugar, which is why we love them so. Roasting concentrates these natural sugars. However beets are also high in folic acid and are a good source of fiber and potassium. So indulge away!
I picked up some lovely, tiny, baby purple beets at the Stonestown Farmer’s Market on Sunday. They were slightly larger than a marble and perfect for roasting. (Hint: all beets are perfect for roasting!) I wrapped them in foil and popped them into the oven at 400F as soon as I got home. It’s tough to over roast a beet, so don’t worry about overcooking them too much. There is a far greater chance that you will undercook a large beet than over cook it. I frequently roast beets on Sunday afternoons and put them in the fridge to snack on or toss into salads during the week. This week however, I was feeling peckish around 5 o’clock and there they were. Cooked and sitting on my counter, calling my name. I didn’t quite feel like eating them plain so I rummaged through the fridge and came up with some goat cheese. Then I stepped outside to grab some arugula from the planter. I split the beets in half, dabbed them with a smear of goat cheese and garnished them with a sprig of arugula. Drizzled with a little bit of olive oil and garnished with fleur de sel, it was an easy, tasty and sophisticated hors d’ouerves. *These beets were bite size. To make them a little less messy I stabbed them with a toothpick so we didn’t wind up with purple fingers.
Mini Beet, Goat Cheese and Arugula Hors’ d’ouerves
Beets, any color, roasted and peeled
1 or 2 oz fresh goat cheese
A handful of spicy arugula sprigs
Olive Oil, salt and pepper for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Wrap the beets in foil or alternatively place in a baking dish with a little bit of water and cover.
- Depending on the size of the beets, they will roast anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours. The small ones roasted for about 45 minutes.
- Remove the beets from the oven and let cool.
- Once they are cool remove the tough outer skin. I generally peel baby beets using my hands under running water. Split the beets in half and smear a dollop of goat cheese on the cut side. Top with a sprig of spicy arugula, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
- Place a toothpick in the beet for easy access with no mess.