I didn’t plan to make anything fancy with the beets. They are down-to-earth, everyday ingredient for me. But when I steamed and tasted these, their exceptional flavor and beauty forced me to create something special on the plate.
Both beet varieties are an heirloom. Detroit red beets are the most popular, often described as “old standard.” Touchstone Gold roots have bright yellow flesh and retain their color when cooked. They are smooth, sweet and tasty, highly flavorful. A delight!
Use your favorite method of cooking young beets. Conventional steaming will be faster, and even faster if you use pressure steaming. Roasting will take extra steps (like applying a thin layer of oil and/or wrapping the beets into a foil) and more time (up to 40-45 minutes at 375F).
Beets go well with an acidic dressing to balance their sweetness. It can be as simple as a good balsamic vinegar with some good extra virgin olive oil. My Facebook friend shared her favorite way of serving golden beets with some Mayer lemon olive oil and Mayer lemon syrup — her salad is truly golden!
Complex flavors of sheep Feta is another great way to compliment beets. Adding ramps puree to the creamy dressing brings some gentle bite and a nice color. If you don’t have ramps handy, use garlicky chives or any of your favorite chopped and frozen herbs with fresh garlic. If you like a combination of earthy-sweet and pungent-salty, this salad is for you!
I encourage you to look for edible flowers at your local farmers market. Sometimes organic farmers do not bring them to the market because of nobody interested. Most, if not all, leafy vegetables have delicious and beautiful flowers with a similar, often more delicate flavor. All the extra topping on your salad is what entertains your senses, and your taste buds in particular, with a variety of colors, tastes, aromas, flavors, and textures. Enjoy them all! Nasturtium and radish are spicy bits, pecans are crunchy, and borage and sage flowers are candy sweet. If you can get what’s on the picture to reproduce it — perfect! If not — create your own choosing your herbs, nuts, and edible flowers.