Sometimes it’s hard for us during the summer to make it to the University Farmers Market on Saturdays. I’ve come to rely more and more on produce and market stands and have discovered a wonderful one in the Skagit Valley called Mother Flight Farm. We often get off I-5 at Conway and make our way to Anacortes via La Conner for a more scenic route through the valley. Mother Flight is close to Conway but slightly off the beaten path — you’ll see their wonderful hand-painted signs. Prices are great, everything is organic and the selection is perfect for one-stop shopping.
A couple of weeks ago we came home with a beautiful bunch of beets. I almost always roast beets and then marinate them. They’ll keep in the fridge for several days so you can add them to your daily salad or just serve them as a side dish. When the greens are young and tender, as these were, a brief saute with garlic and a squeeze of lemon is all you need.
Several years ago I started using Jerry Traunfeld’s recipe in The Herbfarm Cookbook and have stuck with my own variation of it ever since. Like so many of his recipes, this one fits my style of casual cooking.
Roasted Marinated Beets
1 bunch of beets, 7-8 small
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 T maple syrup
1 medium shallot, sliced thin
Salt & pepper to taste
Chopped herbs — dill, tarragon, chives are all good
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Wash beets and trim stems to 1/2 inch.
Place in a shallow baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Pour 1/2 inch of water into dish and cover with a lid or foil.
Bake 30 to 60 minutes depending on the size of beets. Test by piercing with a paring knife for doneness.
Let beets cool. Cut off the top and tail and remove the skins (usually they’ll just rub off or use a paring knife).
Stir together the lemon zest, lemon juice, maple syrup, shallot, salt, pepper and herbs. Coat the beets with this dressing and let it sit at least an hour or overnight in the fridge.
Blue cheese, feta cheese, walnuts, arugula, frisee or any salad greens and beets — whatever you have on hand, it’s all good. You can even forgo the roasting altogether and try this grated raw beet salad. It’s said to turn even sworn beet haters into fans.