It’s chilly. I am in the mood for something warm and comforting. Maybe a bit traditional and certainly simple to prepare. I’d like to crank the oven and sit in my kitchen with a good book. These Salt Roasted Golden Beets with Anise Seeds certainly fit the bill.
Because I’ll be honest. I am having a little trouble finding my Sippity Sup mojo again. It’s seems to happen every year just after the rush of the holidays. It’s a bit like Post Partum Depression I imagine. Not that a food blog is like a baby. Oh wait, what am I saying? That’s exactly what a food blog is like. Because in order to thrive, a blog takes constant care and feeding.
So if the blog’s gotta eat and I gotta eat, then of course I gotta feed you, my virtual eaters, too… Still, I can’t get past the lazy in the kitchen blues these days. So whatever I do it’s gotta be simple, I’ve got a book to read. But who says simple can’t be spectacular?
But the thing about simple foods is in order for them to succeed you need to be sure the simple method you choose is not just simply a short cut, but rather the fast lane to perfection.
Root veggies are a great example of a food that can achieve perfection in the simplest of manners. Sometime in our past we humans were digging around in the dirt and we hit about the idea of eating roots. The world has been a better place ever since.
There are many ways to enjoy these vegetables from the underworld, but roasting is just about my favorite. Roots such as parsnips and carrots are commonly roasted because it brings out their distinctive, rustic charm. It actually amplifies their inherent richness and bolsters their sugars.
Besides root vegetable are beautiful, especially when you let their rustic charm shine. Somewhere along the line people began to peel and trim their root vegetables. This can be a good thing. But it’s not always necessary. Sometimes I like a more visual connection to the food I am eating.
I generally peel beets though. So to keep the visual integrity and that connection to the food I mentioned I often leave the root end attached and even an inch or so of greens when possible. Not only is this an attractive, rustic presentation but it leads to a wonderfully varied texture as well.
I’m preparing mine with olive oil and anise seeds. I’m also roasting them on top of a bed of kosher salt. You’d think this would make them too salty, but it does not. I swear it adds to the texture however, because it raises them off the baking sheet. Meaning I can leave them in the oven a good long time without scorching the bottoms. The star of the show here is all the sweet caramelization that happens when these veggies are roasted, so leave them in the oven a good long time. I even like it when the tips and edges get a bit burned. That way you have some bites that are soft and savory, and other bites with more tooth and a very defined flavor of burnt sugar! Yum. GREG
- 8 medium sized golden beets, about 2‑inches in diameter
- 4 T olive oil, divided
- 2 t anise seeds
- 1 c kosher salt, or more as needed
- 1 good grinding of black pepper
- 1 c parmesan cheese, shaved into ribbons
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
Trim the stem and root ends of the beets. I like to leave a bit of each end still attached for a more rustic presentation, but you may trim them as you like. With a vegetable peeler carefully peel each beet trying to keep its natural shape, then cut the beets in quarters. Place them into a medium bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and anise seeds.
In a thin layer spread the kosher salt over the entire surface of a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold the beets in a single layer. Place the quartered beets, rounded side down, onto the salt covered sheet. Place in the oven and roast until caramelized on the edges and very tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with some of the salt from the baking sheet and give them a good grinding of black pepper. Just before serving shave shards of Parmigiano over the top and serve.