I originally made this recipe in the fall when I made THE. BEST. RECIPE. IN. THE. BOOK. . . . pork loin in vinegar with bay leaves. It was a wonderful addition to the meal.
Through a strange twist of fate I had a similar dish last week at one of my favourite Greek restaurants in Toronto's Greektown. There it was called Pantzaria and it consisted of baked red beets with red wine vinegar, crushed garlic, and olive oil. The timing couldn't have been better because I confess that my memories of this salad from last fall have grown dim . . . (Sandi, thank you for NOT commenting that I am just plain dim, bad girl) last week's refresher has reminded me again of how wonderful this dish is. Of course, Marcella's version was more nuanced than what I enjoyed in Greektown.
To bring this to the table one really only needs a few steps - first the beets are carefully cleaned (as always Marcella gives clear and concise instructions for preparing the vegetable properly), roasted, the blackened skins removed, sliced, and tossed with oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Simple, easy, and bloody delicious.
If you have not yet tried roasted beets you are in for a revelation - roasting them brings out the natural sugars in the beet and you are left with an incredibly delicious treat. Marcella writes that you will 'swoon over (the taste) if you have never had them before'.
Yes, you will swoon.
We've been roasting beets for years. In fact, it is the only way we'll prepare beets. I suspect that once you try this dish it will be the only way that you prepare beets in the future too. I have roasted beets and served them to folks who despise beets. They have asked for seconds and taken the leftovers home.
This is why I always double the quantity whenever I roast beets.
This wonderfully simple, yet incredibly delicious, salad would work equally as well as a vegetable served alongside roasted meats.