I like my beets somewhat simple, but with a few strong flavors, and I never, ever, never, like my beets from a can. I like them roasted:
We had a delicious beet salad I made for Thanksgiving, and I didn't even follow a recipe. Rebel! I've been making it long enough, I know what I like, and it's really pretty easy, and a great salad for a holiday meal, because it can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge.
I like the earthy flavors of beets combined with the strength of rosemary and the brightness of orange. It's a wonderful combination around the holidays, using the bounty of California's citrus harvest along with an herb hardy here in Portland, and root vegetables plentiful during these dark days.
Roasted beets with rosemary and tangerines
4-6 beets (a mix of gold and red is pretty)
3 T olive oil
2 T vinegar (I used a wildflower vinegar I had on hand, because I wanted a little sweetness)
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
2 large shallots
1/4 cup feta crumbles
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Scrub your beets under running water. Trim off the ends. Place in a casserole dish with cover, along with 1 inch of water. Roast in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, check with a fork: if it easily goes into the beet and out, it's done. If it's still hard, keep roasting. It may take 45-60 minutes, depending how large your beets are. Remove from oven, and remove from dish to cool on a cutting board.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar and olive oil. Peel one of the tangerines, and squeeze the juice into the vinegar and olive oil, whisking it all together, salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the rosemary while you're whisking. Remember, grind the pepper until your arm is tired. Then you know it's enough for dressing.
Slice the shallots and saute in a little bit of olive oil until soft. Set aside.
Once the beets are cool enough to handle, slide the skins off, then cut into 1.5 chunks, approximate. Toss beets with shallots in bowl of dressing.
If preparing ahead of time, cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve, toss the beets well, then add 4 tangerines, peeled and separated into slices, then cut into halves. Sprinkle in feta crumbles. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.