Beets are one of the tastiest vegetables because of their unique sweetness and flavor complexity. Some people find their earthy taste repelling but that is why I love them so much. There’s something addicting about beets that sets them far apart from other root vegetables like carrots or celeriac.
The big downside of preparing beets is their long cooking time. They take forever to bake or boil. And while I like a lot of vegetables on the crunchy side, beets taste best when they are tender throughout.
Baking them in aluminum foil makes the beets a little sweeter which helps to balance out their earthy notes. I could eat the baked beets without any vinaigrette right out of the oven. They have such a great natural flavor.
However, a vinaigrette improves the taste of them even further. I like to use dark and complex sherry vinegar. Balsamic vinegar would also be a great choice.
This beet salad is very versatile. You can pair it with almost anything. It can be eaten as part of a mixed salad plate but it is also great as a side dish for pan-fried fish.
Place your beets on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Add the oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Mix well and add about 1-2 tablespoons of water so that your beets can steam in the oven. Wrap the aluminum foil tightly around the beets and leave them to bake in the preheated oven for 1.5 hours or until tender throughout. You can check for doneness by inserting a sharp paring knife into the beets. If you feel no resistance, they are cooked through.
Peel the beets while still hot. The skin will slide off easily that way. Then cut the beets into small wedges.
Prepare the vinaigrette:
Take one tablespoon of the olive oil and heat it in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and briefly sweat them for about 2-3 minutes, just until translucent.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the shallots, honey, and sherry vinegar. Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and mix well.
Marinate and serve your beets:
Pour the vinaigrette over your beet wedges which should ideally still be warm. Mix well and add salt to taste. Leave the salad to marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Just before serving, sprinkle the salad with some fresh dill leaves for garnishing.