These aren't the sad pickled beets of your Sizzler salad bar, circa 1985. The fresh, area beets from farmers markets, roadside stands, and your nearby co-op are full of flavor and can be used in a variety of ways. Il Gatto, the Italian darling at Calhoun Square has two (yes, two) beet dishes on its regular dinner menu, proving that chef Jim Christiansen is well aware of the power of the purple (or golden).
When asked to share some of his favorite beet preparations, Christiansen said, "Beets would be a great idea--they are coming into season right now locally."
We couldn't agree more. Eschew the California varieties offered at your supermarket and go for the local beet roots and greens. Then you can try out some of the recipes that Christiansen shared with the Hot Dish. Or, you can stop into Il Gatto for dinner and have them prepare the Barbabietole for you.
5 Ways to Eat Beets, courtesy chef Jim Christiansen
1. Il Gatto's Beet Salad, Barbabietole Arrostite. This salad is comprised of roasted beets, burrata, mache, toasted hazelnuts, and black pepper.
2. Il Gatto's, Beet Side Dish, Barbabietole. The tasty side dish has beets, pistachio, roasted garlic, and orange.
3. Golden beets with roasted fish and vinaigrette. Roasted golden beets with simply roasted fish and a vinaigrette made of basil, apple vinegar, olive oil, and dill or any summer herbs (especially good with local Lake Superior Trout)
4. Stewed Beet Greens. Saute with onions, garlic, and pancetta. Stew the greens with a little chicken stock for a side dish similar to braised collard greens.
5. Roasted beets with whipped goat cheese. Add fluffed up goat cheese, roasted walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette to roasted beets. Eat this as a warm or cold side dish or throw onto greens to make it a salad.