With guidance and inspiration from Chef Mike Isabella‘s new cookbook, Crazy Good Italian: Big Flavors, Small Plates, and freshly harvested beets from the farm, I was able to bring fall into the kitchen in a new way: with dry sauteed spices and herbs and oven-roasted root veggies.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Remove the greens and scrub clean approximately two pounds of beets. I used golden beets but any variety will do.
- In a dry saute pan, toast two flaked cinnamon sticks, two tablespoons of coriander and two tablespoons of peppercorns over medium heat for five minutes. Shake the pan frequently so spices toast rather than burn.
- Once toasty, move them onto a 9″ x 13″ baking sheet. Chop up and apple and several slices of ginger root and place them on the baking sheet.
- Toss the beets in two tablespoons of olive oil and two teaspoons of salt (and a little lavender if you love it as much as I do) and then add them to the baking sheet. Squeeze half of a lemon over everything, toss the rind on the pan too, and cover it all tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 50-60 minutes (depending on the size of your beets).
- After roasting, remove aluminum foil to allow beets to cool before sliding the skin off with a paper towel. Slice the beets, toss with some of the leftover spices and roasted apples, and allow them to cool to room temperature and soak up more flavors.
The dish is a great hearty side item or topping on an arugula salad. Be sure and take the bulk of the cinnamon sticks and all lemon rind and ginger root remains out of the mix before serving.
BONUS: I put some turnips on the pan with them (and the same preparations) and they were fantastic. They came out with the freshness of bok choy – that made them a great pair with salmon and braising greens – as well as hints of those spicy fall flavors. They only needed 50 minutes of roasting.