What I love about Italian cuisine is that the recipes can be quite simple, and rely on the quality of the few ingredients that go into the preparation. Toward the end of summer in New England, we are fortunate to be able to enjoy the fresh harvest. This recipe uses fresh beets from the nearby fields and prepares them with a refreshing dressing that includes fresh tarragon from our herb garden. I serve this dish usually along with my other favorite antipasti preparation marinated grilled zucchini coming next week.
2 Pounds fresh beets. I like the golden beets if available. Look for small to medium sized beets.
2T Balsamic Vinegar – find the real deal with the special PDO logo
2T Olive Oil – I use my Casas De Hualdo Manzanilla olive oil
3T Blood Orange Juice – either squeeze a fresh blood orange or look for fresh-squeezed blood orange juice at Whole Foods Supermarkets.
Zest of one orange – If you fresh squeeze your blood orange juice you can zest that orange.
2T Fresh tarragon
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Cut any greenery from the beets and drop them in the boiling water. Boil for about 20 minutes or until tender. Don’t boil them too long or they will get mushy. I like to test them with a bamboo grill skewer and feel how much resistance I am feeling.
Remove the beets from the boiling water with a slotted spoon or drain through a colander. Let the beets cool slightly and then peel the skin off the beets with a sharp paring knife or your fingernail. Slice the cooked beets into quarter-inch slices and place them in a bowl.
Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over the beets. Toss well, and let stand at room temperature for a few hours. You can also cover them and put them in the refrigerator overnight if you want to serve them the next day. I usually arrange the beets on a nice platter and sprinkle the dressing over the top to serve.