When Mark and I went to Australia in 2015, we discovered baked beets served a myriad of ways. They are also lovely over greens. If doing the latter, we crumble the goat cheese over the top instead of whipping. In either case, pistachios add a delightful contrast in flavor and texture, and a little fresh thyme looks lovely tucked in here and there.
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
|8 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
|In a 1-quart bowl, beat together with a hand mixer until perfectly smooth (1-2 minutes). Cover and chill to thicken while preparing the beets.||A hand mixer allows access to all parts of the bowl.|
|1/2 cup pistachios||Spread evenly across a little pan that fits inside a toaster oven; toast at 350°F just until fragrant (4-5 minutes); set aside to fully cool.||Nuts burn easily. Pistachios are soft while still hot.|
|16 ounces beets
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon roughly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
|Position an oven rack just below center; preheat to 400°F “Convection” (verify with an oven thermometer). Place an 18-inch long sheet of aluminum foil over a quarter sheet pan. Cut off beet tops and roots; wash, dry, and rub with oil. Crowd together on foil; distribute seasonings over top. Fold foil edges to form a tightly sealed packet.||Ovens often run hot or cold, or preheat slowly. Baking tightly sealed promotes tender beets, whereas roasting peeled and diced yields a tough, fibrous texture.|
|1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (I like Modena)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon roughly ground black pepper
|Bake until fork tender (60-80 minutes). Let rest, until cool enough to handle (15-20 minutes). Meanwhile, add seasonings to a 1-quart glass bowl; set aside. Slip on plastic gloves, remove beets from foil; cut off tough bases. Slide off peels with your thumbs; cube on a dark plastic cutting board. Toss with seasonings, cover and chill 1-2 hours before serving with a smear of goat cheese and a sprinkle of pistachios.||Beet juice stains unprotected hands, plastic, bamboo, and light colored cutting boards. Chilling gives seasonings time to penetrate beets.|
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