Quartet of Roasted Beets on a bed of Baby Red Kale

July 13, 2011

Okay, I’ll be honest – this really turned out to be quartet of beets surrounded by a hedge of baby red kale.  Bed would be a bit of an exaggeration.  No matter how big the volume of greens I think I’m using, it always cooks down to much less than I anticipate.  I had a big bag of baby red kale and what I thought was three different colors of beets from the Boulder Farmers’ Market, so thought I would try roasting the beets and putting them on a bed of sautéed kale.

In the past, I have always committed the cooking atrocity of microwaving my beets.  I didn’t want to take the time to oven roast them. But every single time, I ended up overcooking them so they were sort of deflated by the time I took them out, and it was difficult to get them cooled down quickly, even in an ice bath.  So this time I committed to oven roasting them, and they turned out immeasurably better than my previous attempts.  It did take about 48 minutes for the beets I had, but they were worth it.  It was also a nice surprise to discover that I actually had four different colors of beets – red, golden, pinkish-golden,  and white with a bit of pink (or maybe that was just bleeding beet color from the other ones).  It made for a very colorful salad.

The baby red kale was easier to work with than ‘adult’ kale (I suppose ‘mature’ would be the appropriate term, but ‘adult’ amuses me).  Because the stems are so much thinner, I only removed the obviously large ones, instead of having to de-rib all of the leaves like you do for the larger kale.

Baby Red Kale and Beets

Quartet of Roasted Beets on a Bed of Baby Red Kale

serves 2

4 beets of assorted colors
1 to 2 large bag(s) of baby red kale
3 tsp olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp viniagrette dressing (optional)
salt and pepper
1 to 2 oz goat cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Remove greens from beets, and scrub clean.  Leave peels on.  Take a piece of aluminum foil big enough to form a sealed packet around all of the beets, and place the beets on the middle of one half of the sheet. Drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Fold the aluminum foil in half, and then fold the edges up to seal the packet.  Place the aluminum foil on a baking sheet,put it in the oven, and set the timer to start checking them at about 25 minutes.  When the timer goes off, pull the baking sheet out, open the foil (the foil won’t be hot once you remove it from the oven, so you can touch it to open the edges, but don’t forget that the baking sheet WILL be hot!). Check the beets by pricking them with a fork.  You want them to be tender, but not mushy.  My beets took 48 minutes, but it will vary depending on their size.  When they are done, put them in an ice water bath to stop them from cooking further (just a bowl with some water and ice in it). Once the beets are cool, slice them.

Saute the garlic in 1 tsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, about 1-2 minutes.  Add another 1 tsp of olive oil, the kale and the balsamic vinegar.  Saute the kale by using a motion similar to folding eggs into batter.  Cook until the kale is wilted, but still bright green.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Put the kale on a plate, and then arrange the beets on top. Drizzle with 1 tsp of vinagrette dressing if desired, and top with dollops of goat cheese.

Beets on a bed of Baby Red Kale

Nothing says ‘classy picture’ like a striped tea towel as a background, wouldn’t you agree?  Seriously, I need a real camera and a nicer background.  But if you concentrate on the center beet, it is kind of hypnotizing, and takes your focus away from the towel.


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