Sautéed Beets? Well I looked high and low on the internet and couldn’t find a recipe that said to pan fry beets at high heat, with a little bit of salt and let carmelize… The only recipes I could find were the latest rage ones that have you wrapping beets in foil and putting in the oven…And there were recipes to do this… and more recipes.. and even more recipes. But I didn’t want to heat the oven and the house so I figured I could just make it up as I went.
And so my sautéed beet and feta and pine nut salad was exactly that… made up as I went. Beets have a lot of sugar so it only made sense that they would saute very nicely… making that nice crispy outside crust that we like to call carmelized.
I have to say that I was never a beet fan. I am not sure why, but it must have been a throw back to all those ‘weird’ foods that I refused to eat as a child. When I think about it, I didn’t like anything with too much colour. Beets, tomatoes, mustard, relish, lettuce, most fruit, all peppers…. Its amazing I grew fast and furious and was towering over my classmates by grade 5. Obviously eating your veg doesn’t have a lot to do with height.
Then a few years back I visited Earl’s with my Mom and I had a salad that had beets in it and I was hooked.
Here is what I made up: Peel your beets, take care to not get EVERYTHING purple. Chop the beets in small dice. This would be about 1/4 inch squares. Heat the pan then add olive oil. Throw in beet dice, add a little salt and start sauteing. Get them nice and coated in the oil. Lower the heat and stir/shake them up every so often. They go through a few stages. They will sweat out, then the sweated out liquid will steam them a bit soft, then they will eventually carmelize on the outside. You can even toss a bit more salt and some sugar in he pan to help it along. It will take about 30 minutes.
I also lightly toasted pine nuts on another burner while the beets were cooking.
Pine nuts (toasted)
Olive Oil and salt, if needed, to dress.
I toss it all together and the feta ends up pink. If you don’t care for the ‘pink’ feta, add it only at the end on the top of the salad but the result with ‘pink’ feta is better.