In Tom Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume, all the characters are (in one way or another) having a love affair with the beet. Most of them don't even realize it; they haven't fallen for the humble vegetable's more obvious charms--the silken flesh, the exquisitely agonizing color, the sweet and earthy taste. Instead, they are unwittingly under the spell of the beet's lesser-used and extremely fragrant pollen, which is apparently the great secret of everlasting life.
Much as I'd love to live forever, I think I'll leave the pollen for the characters and stick with the beet itself. Not only do I find myself drawn to the nearly obscene red finery, but i'm a little in love with the names of the different varietals: Burpee's Golden! Will's Improved Blood Turnip! Albina Veradura! Beta Vulgaris! Don't they just sound like a cross between your crazy aunt and her man-eating tentacula plant?
With visions of that strange mental picture dancing in my head, I set about making a simple beet salad for Sunday's supper. Seriously, seriously simple. Three ingredients simple. And perfect for a transitional fall night--tangy, creamy, velvety...and guaranteed to stain anything it comes into contact with, so really and truly: try to have some latex gloves on hand while handling these things. Unless Lizzie Borden is your new fashion statement, that is.
Bingo Pajama would approve.
Seriously simple beet salad
4-5 medium sized beets (about the size of your fist)
Goat's cheese (a nice creamy chevre, ideally. I used what was leftover from the figs)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees; wrap your beets firmly and individually in foil. When the oven hits temperature, pop in the beets and roast them for about 45 minutes, or until soft. DO NOT peel them first. Doing so will deprive you of the fun part.
- When the beets are done, let them cool until they can be handled comfortably. Snap on your latex gloves and rub the skins off. It will look gory. I am not kidding about the gloves.
- When peeled, cut them into 1-inch chunks (or so), swish them around with some balsamic vinegar (according to your personal taste). Some salt and pepper, too, if you're so inclined. Then, crumble the goat's cheese on top and you're in business!