This is the beet generation. No, not the Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg generation of celebrating everything bohemian and rejecting conformity, but the tasty and healthy veggie that, once it wins you over, will become a staple in your kitchen. Beets have made their way back into fashion and are appearing on menus in their raw form — shaved paper-thin, carpaccio-style, and grated, as in tartar, although roasting, steaming, and pickling beets offer off-the-chart, earthy flavors.
Looking for color and crunch in a salad? Beets will fit the bill, but also trending are beet butter, beet pancakes, beet burgers, beet chips, beet pasta and, yes, beet sorbet, beet cheesecake and dark chocolate beet brownies. Chase it all down with beet lemonade or a beet martini. Beet oil, a combination of extra-virgin olive oil and pureed cooked beets, livens up grain salads and roasted veggies, and beet powder is available to naturally color everything from pasta to frosting. All we are saying is to give beets a chance.
Beet Salad with Mimosa Vinaigrette
Recipe by Carrie Hirsch | Serves 6-8
4 slices thick-cut bacon
3 red, golden or striped beets with beet greens
½ onion, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
(1) 16-ounce package spring mix or favorite salad greens
4 ounces Gorgonzola crumbles
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1 orange, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium skillet, fry bacon until crispy and then transfer to paper towels, reserving the hot bacon drippings in the skillet. Rinse, pat dry and finely chop beet greens, then sauté with diced onion over medium heat, stirring often, until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Chop bacon and stir into greens. Trim off ends of beets. Using a vegetable peeler, peel beets, and then make paper-thin slices. Arrange salad greens in a shallow salad bowl, then arrange the beet slices in a circular tower in the center. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola crumbles. To make the Mimosa Vinaigrette, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, Champagne vinegar, mustard, orange juice, salt and pepper. Drizzle salad with vinaigrette and toss just before serving.
Optional: Garnish with orange peel stars. To make stars, peel orange and use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out stars.