Since we live to eat and we love nothing more than yummy, fresh, local produce we’re in heaven now that our local farms are selling their wares. So far this summer we’ve eaten our way through the arugula, lettuces, strawberries, rhubarb and asparagus crops. Next up from our local farm — fresh beets.  

We look for small sized beets with bright green leaves. Most people forget about how delicious and nutritious the greens are;  besides since we’re all about being on a budget, there’s nothing thriftier than using the entire vegetable.

There are so many interesting beet varieties, we can never make up our mind which we like best, so we buy several bunches at a time—striped, red, golden.  Our favorite preparation is simple and shows off the true flavor of the beet:

Sliced Roasted Beets Served on a Bed of Tender Beet Greens

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and cut the beets leaving two inches of stem still attached.  Place them in a tightly covered baking dish and cook until tender –45-60 minutes. Let cool slightly, then slip off the outer skin and slice.  (You can stop here and simply cut the beets into chunks, lightly salt and serve.)

If the greens are tender they’ll be a wonderful base for the salad. If not, substitute, spinach, arugula, Bibb or Boston lettuces. Arrange the sliced beets on top and dress with the tarragon vinaigrette.  (The beet greens cook up just like Swiss Chard –they’re in the same family–and can be served steamed or sauteed. Also, don’t forget there is nothing like a fantastic cold borscht on a hot summer day!)

Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves

Freshly ground salt and pepper

Emulsify the oil, vinegar and mustard.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix in the tarragon right before serving.

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