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Unbeatable Beet Salad

(post, Kathleen Bauer)

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Pentimento is an Italian phrase for the reappearance in a painting of a design that has been painted over, a shadow of the past that shimmers under the surface. I'm not sure what it is, but autumn is like that for me. Maybe it's the falling leaves closing another chapter on a year of memories.

Last night was an evening with friends that capped a season of memorable gatherings and will go down as one of our all-time faves. Meant as a tribute to my recent foray into the Basque culture of Boise, it was an evening of great food, wonderful wines, much laughter and lively conversation. And for feeding a crowd, it doesn't get better than paella on the grill made with a slightly spicy chorizo from the [Basque Market in Boise, along with chicken thighs, mussels and local green beans.

It would have been an ideal one-dish meal had I not been swept away by the beets at Persephone Farm's stand at the Hollywood Farmers' Market. After roasting, their sweetness, not to mention their glorious fall coloring, was the ideal compliment to the smoky heartiness of the paella.

Fall Beet Salad

3 lbs. beets, ideally different colors
Olive oil
Aged balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt
Fresh-ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Place washed and dried beets on square of heavy-duty aluminum foil (three or four together if small, individually if large) and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Roast for45 min. to one hour till slightly tender. Unwrap and cool.

Peel beets, then slice thinly by hand or in mandoline and arrange in rows on platter. Sprinkle with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and serve.