Of the many ways to cook beets, roasting shows them off to their best advantage. You can do this in the oven or on the grill, as long as the rounds are wrapped tightly in foil so a little steam in the packets can help soften the earthy flesh (some cooks call these “hobo packs”). Begin with a bunch of beets — familiar reds, red-striped chiogga, or golden beets — or buy them as singletons so you have a medley of colors.
Roast the striped and goldens together, but separate the reds from the others or you’ll get all red in the end. Their bright juices stain everything they come in contact with, including your hands and your countertop. This
array of red, white, and golden beets is topped with a vinaigrette, a generous sprinkle of feta, red onion, and
olives. If you make it today, it will taste better tomorrow. Best of all on Day 3.
|2||red beets, trimmed and halved|
|2||golden beets, trimmed and halved|
|2||chiogga (striped) beets, trimmed and halved|
|Olive oil (for sprinkling)|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|¼||cup white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar|
|1||heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard|
|¼||cup olive oil|
|8||ounces feta cheese, crumbled|
|¼||red onion, very thinly sliced|
|½||cup black or green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped|
|2||tablespoons chopped fresh parsley|
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a roasting pan and two 1-foot sheets of heavy-duty foil.
2. Put the red beets on 1 sheet of foil, the golden and striped on the other. Sprinkle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Close up the packets tightly and set in the roasting pan.
3. Roast the beets for 1 to 1½ hours or until they are tender when pierced with a skewer (open the foil carefully; steam will escape). Open the packets and let the beets cool.
4. Working over a large plate, use your fingers or a small knife to skin the beets. Keep the red beets separate. Cut the beets into thick wedges and transfer to bowls.
5. In another bowl, whisk the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil. In one bowl combine all the beets, feta, onion, olives, and parsley. Toss gently. Sheryl Julian
This column offers ways to prepare native ingredients from the farmers’ market, farm stand, or fishmonger. To see previous recipes for hake, zucchini, eggplant, corn, striped bass, tomatoes, bluefish, Swiss chard, and more, go to www.bostonglobe.com/food.