In the midst of my cold, a friend dropped by with a goodie bag full of some beautiful produce from Central Market in Houston: a hunk of Irish Cheddar, a loaf of crusty bread, and a gorgeous bunch of beets.
The cheese and bread require no recipe other than “Rip off hunk of bread. Apply cheese. Eat. Repeat.” So, on to the beets.
Many are passionate about beets, and that fervor spans the spectrum from adoration to loathing. Unfortunately, while I am closer to the veneration extreme, my husband is at the polar opposite. If there was a low point in our marriage, it was the day I “won” a case of pickled beets from a recipe contest I had entered. To quote Kevin, “beets are never a prize.”
I can sympathize with the loathers if canned or pickled beets are all they’ve ever tasted. But fresh, simply prepared beets are an entirely different story. Until people have them this way, they may never imagine that the words delicious and beets have anything in common.
The case for beets is further bolstered if their flavor is complemented by a few bright and bold flavors. In the case of my recipe today, it’s lemons and garlic. The sweet, earthy flavor of the beets needs little more to sing, just salt and pepper.
The preparation here is equally simple. I boil the beets first, namely so I can avoid peeling them while raw, which can be a messy affair. Boiling them whole make slipping off the skins almost effortless. Next, simply cut the beets into cubes and give them a stovetop sauté for a few minutes with the garlic and lemon. The results are enough to sway the most die-hard detesters.
If any more incentive is needed, consider this: beets are loaded with folate, vitamins A and C, iron potassium, manganese and fiber. Antioxidant power! Just what we all need to fight off winter sniffles, plus stimulate cell repair after a strenuous run during these chilly months.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the beets and boil for 20 to 25 minutes until beets are just fork-tender. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.
Slip the skins off of the beets, cut off remaining stems, and cut into 1-inch cubes.
In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the beets; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and minced garlic; cook an 30 seconds longer. Add the lemon juice; cook and stir for 1 minute. Serve warm or hot.