Fresh Spring Roots! -Recipes from May 7th

Greetings fellow foodies,

Yesterday felt like summer down at the waterfront, though our produce is still very much emanating spring. As you can see in the photo above, we are heavy on fresh new root crops, such as carrots, beets, potatoes, and Willamette Sweet Onions.

We generally cook some recipes multiple weeks in a row, during the duration of that vegetable’s prime season, so if you see something sampled without its recipe details, look back to the week it was debuted in. Yesterday over at our sample station, we cooked up the following:

  • Raw Hakurei Salad Turnips (May 1st post)
  • Pan-Fried Parsnips w/ Pea Top Salad (May 1st post)
  • Hot Beet Salad

HOT BEET SALAD:

  • 1 bunch beets
    • Beets, thinly sliced
    • Beet greens, chopped (It’s basically a free bunch of chard on top of your beets. Get your money’s worth, and eat dem greens!)
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 bunch arugula, chopped (In the past, I’ve also used chard, more beet greens, or spinach. Really anything will do!)IMG_2165 (2)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Put enough oil in the pan to coat the bottom, and bring up to heat (about medium high).
  2. Add in chopped leeks.  Sauté about 2 minutes.
    1. I’ve always composted the dark green tops of my leeks, but in recent months I decided to try chopping them right into my sauté. Much to my surprise, they were completely delicious, not too tough at all. Leeks are sold by the pound, so you might as well eat the whole thing.
  3. Add in about 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar. Sauté leeks about 2 minutes.Our beets are so vibrant this time of year! Look closely at your food and see the beauty can be so easily overlooked. Finding joy in seemingly mundane tasks can lead to a huge quality of life increase. Check out the deep velvety rings in these beets!
  4. Add in the sliced beets, stirring around to coat in the juices. You can sprinkle in a couple pinches of salt at this time. Sauté about 3 minutes.
  5. Add in the chopped beet greens. Stir around so that they cook down enough that you have more space in the pan. Then add in the chopped arugula. Sauté just about a minute, then turn off the heat.
  6. Let the dish finish off cooking for a few minutes, then taste test. Add more salt and balsamic vinegar to taste.

IMG_2167 (2)

I’d like to insert a closing note on the big question-“To peel or not to peel.” Whenever I make this beet dish at market, one of the first questions people ask is if they have to peel their beets. We seem to have all grown up with an understanding that beets must be blanched, peeled, cooled, and given a manicure before we can cook with them. Ultimately, whether you peel or not is totally up to you, and all paths lead to tasty. But I’d like to describe how highly beneficial it can be to never peel beets, or most vegetables for that matter.

  • Higher Nutritive Value: Roots, as we all know, grow in the soil. The skins on these vegetables are the only part of the plant that’s in direct contact with the soil surface. Because of this, the skin contains a different set of vitamins and nutrients that can’t be translocated into different parts of the plant.
  • Saves Time: Before I knew much about cooking, all I knew was that there were all these steps that you had to take to make good food. I largely thank my laziness for inspiring me to cut such predispositions out of my cooking. Initially, I thought I would just cut corners and suffer the consequences. What I realized is that there are no consequences. The peels don’t end up woody, burnt, or bitter. You don’t even notice they’re there. The more steps in a recipe, the less likely we all are to actually cook it, so it can be great to simplify things.