Boiled Beets with Parm and Pine Nuts

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Jennifer Woods

Lately, in this In Season series, we're taking a look at what I take home from Crooked Sky Farms each week and see what I've done with my CSA share, or part share. This week I'm using beets.

My default cooking method for root vegetables is roasting. Lately, though, I've been having the darndest time with my beets. I often get distracted and have been getting some dried out or overcooked beets. To say I've been bummed out is a major understatement. I am crazy for beets and often am the sole eater of them in my house because I just don't want to share and regularly eat them all before family dinner is served.

I've been reading An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler and am actually getting pretty elated about the thought of boiling more of my vegetables. I know you're thinking I've possibly lost my mind but I boiled my beets for this recipe. I even forgot about them while I was watching a recorded episode of Check Please. I noticed the smell of burning beet water on the stove. They had been boiling over rapidly for longer than they probably should have. The best part? The beets behaved incredibly well! They just did what they were supposed to, the skin peeled away so easily and were all cooked uniformly tender.

Guess who will be boiling her beets from now on? This girl.

Save any extra beets in a pretty container in your fridge:

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Jennifer Woods

Make the boiled beets a meal by arranging them on a plate with toasted nuts and amazing cheese. I always have pine nuts in my freezer and I happened to have just restocked my Parmesan wedge, so Beets with Parm and Pine Nuts it was.

Ingredients

Beets, about 2 bunches of larger beets or 4 bunches of baby beets
Acid, red wine vinegar or juice of half a lemon
Pine nuts, about 2 tablespoons (or whatever nut you have and love - pistachios, walnuts or pecans would be very good)
Cheese, about an ounce of best quality cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano is what I used, but you would be lucky to have any goat cheese, farmer cheese or feta)
Fresh herbs, if you have them (I was lazy and didn't want to go outside to pick any -- thyme or mint would have been nice)
Olive oil, best quality

Rinse and wash the beets under running water or fill your clean sink with water and toss in your beet bunches. Give them a good rub down and then cut the roots from the greens and keep the root end attached. Dry and save the greens for another time. Put all the trimmed off roots into a pot and fill to cover with cold water. Set over high heat and once boiling, season well with salt so that the water tastes delicious and then turn down to simmer until the beets are cooked through. Pierce them with a knife; you're done when they're soft all the way through. This will probably take anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour. If you think about it, pull out the smaller beets first. Once all cooked, drain and fill the pot with cold water. Once the beets have cooled a bit (it won't take long), grab a paring knife and head to the sink with a big bowl. Trim the roots with your knife and peel away the skin with your hands gently. Cut the beets into pretty rounds or wedges and collect all the pieces into your bowl. Still warm sprinkle the beets with vinegar or lemon juice and toss. You can put the beets in the refrigerator for the next few days or continue with the rest of the ingredients.

In a dry pan, toast the nuts over medium high heat shaking the pan periodically to make sure the nuts don't burn. Once they smell wonderful, they're done.

Place a few spoonfuls of the beets onto your favorite plate, top with a handful of toasted nuts, shave or crumble a bit of cheese, and douse with a thin stream of olive oil.

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