Local beets are in season right now at the Red Stick Farmers Market, and they make a great addition to your spring table. They’re sumptuous as a simple roasted veggie side dish with nothing more than butter, salt and pepper, but I like them best as a composed salad.
Roast them a day ahead if you like, and pair them with a range of fresh greens and microgreens, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and different cheeses (blue, manchego, feta and chevre all work well). Drizzle with good olive oil and your favorite vinegar for an elegant salad that tastes as good as it looks.
The trick to cooking beets evenly and (sort of) quickly is to steam them as they roast. Begin by heating the oven to 450 degrees. Trim the beets and wash them well. There’s no need to peel them (which can be messy and difficult when they are raw). If the beets are large, cut them in half and place them cut side down in a cast iron or oven-proof pan. Otherwise, leave them whole.
Add enough water to fill the bottom of the pan and come just slightly up the sides. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast for 50-60 minutes until the beets are fork tender. Allow them to cool before handling, then slide the skin off, or use a paring knife to help you.
Maggie Heyn Richardson is a regular 225 contributor. Reach her at hungryforlouisiana.com.