When my co-op box turned up with the leaves of golden beets spilling out exuberantly like the headdress of a Las Vegas showgirl, I knew that they’d be first in line to the table. I think of beets as the whole plant, greens included, and when they’re fresh they’re glorious.
Sadly, because the greens are much more perishable than the root, grocers have no choice but to trim them down after a few days. That said, if you do find beets with greens that are looking just a little wilted, you can revive them very successfully by simply cutting them off and submerging them in a sink of very cold water for 15-20 minutes. They’ll spring back to just-picked life and you’ll be good to go.
For golden beets I have designed a golden glaze with apple cider vinegar, complemented by their favourite spice, caraway seeds. The glaze will pick up some of the beets’ colour, too, giving everything a delicious, golden sheen.
While beets are most often destined to be roasted in the oven – and with good reason – here all the cooking takes place on the stovetop. As a side dish, I’d allow one apple-sized beet per person, so if you find them still in their baby form, use a few more and cook them whole.
Cook’s tip: There’s no need to peel beets when cooking this way. Just trim the greens off, scrub the beets thoroughly and cut into quarters to cook. Slice the greens into forkable pieces – leaves and stems included.
Cider-vinegar glazed golden beets
A stovetop way with beets.
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 golden beets, with their greens
1 shallot or small onion, halved and finely sliced
60ml (¼ cup) apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Over high heat, toast the caraway seeds in the dry pan until fragrant.
Add the beets, shallot, cider vinegar, olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Add enough water from a recently boiled kettle to just cover the beets. Wait until it comes up to a boil then turn the heat down to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Uncover, turn the heat up and reduce the liquid until it becomes syrupy, gently turning the beet pieces occasionally with a spoon. This takes about 15 minutes in my pan, and leaves about ¼ cup liquid in the bottom of the pan.
Turn down the heat to low, scatter the greens over the beets and cover the pan. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, just until the stem pieces are cooked through to your liking.
Toss the beets and their greens together until nicely glazed, seasoning with salt and pepper as required.