A bunch of beets is one of those happy vegetable combinations where you get two for one. The sweet root, and the spicy green tops. I love finding ways to put the tops and bottoms of beets back together in the kitchen; it feels so nice and complete to use both at once. Here's one simple way I just did this: a warm, toothsome salad with spicy greens, a bit of pungent goat cheese, and toasty almonds.
This is really almost a template for a bunch of beets (here's another, too); you can always tweak this to your own tastes or pantry.
With golden beets this is a mild salad, sweet and tender. It's less rich than if you made it with red beets, which are so intense and powerful that I can only eat them in small amounts. Golden beets are much lighter. They are lovely with citrus, too; a splash of orange juice (which I did not have on hand) would be nice in this salad.
Warm Golden Beet Salad with Greens and Almonds
1 bunch beets, both tops and roots
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2/3 cup toasted almond slivers
Heat the oven to 425°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan or cake tin with a big square of foil, large enough to complete enclose the beet roots. Lightly rinse the beet roots to remove any really clumpy dirt and pat them dry. Place them in the foil square and lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Fold up the foil and crease to seal. Bake the beets for 60 minutes or until they can be just pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, chop the beet greens into bite-size ribbons. Discard the stalks between the roots and where the leaves start, but chop the leaf ribs along with the leaves. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of dirt and grit. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook on low for about 5 minutes or until the garlic is golden and fragrant. Add the chopped leaves and stir to coat with the garlic. Cook on medium-low for about 10 minutes or until the leaves are soft and tender. Remove from the heat.
When the beets are cool, rub them with a paper towel to remove the skin. Then chop into bitesized pieces and toss with the cooked greens, goat cheese, and almonds. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold. (This also makes an excellent pressed sandwich filling, especially with some extra goat cheese.)
Related: Five Ways to Eat: Beets
(Images: Faith Durand)