Last year we planted beets in the garden and grew a beautiful abundant crop, but this year the local quail population ate most of the tender seedlings we planted in the spring. I was craving beets so I bought a box at the farmers market and made this dish. The recipe is a variation on one my mother made often when we were growing up. It does take time to boil the beets and peel them, but you can busy yourself with other things while they cook and cool. The fresh dill really shines in this dish. I have been trying to be more conscientious about not wasting food and repurposing leftovers. I saved the beet cooking water and used it to make pickled eggs. I also took the leftover beets and puréed them with some water and sour cream. Then added a grated cucumber and a bit of vinegar for a cold summer borscht. Delicious.
Fresh Beets with Green Onions and Dill
15 medium beets, trimmed and scrubbed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
a light sprinkle of garlic powder
a light sprinkle of onion powder
1 bunch green onions (about 8), thinly sliced
7 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill or more to taste
1/2-1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Place scrubbed beets in a 5-quart pot. Add enough cold water to cover them along with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat to medium high. Bring to a boil then lower the heat slightly and let beets cook for about 40 minutes until you can pierce them with a fork. Remove the cooked beets with a slotted spoon and allow any larger beets to continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Save the beet cooking water to pickle eggs if desired. Let beets cool 10 minutes then peel and cube. Place cubed beets in a large bowl. Add olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Toss. Add green onions and vinegar. Toss. Add fresh herbs and toss again. Cover and chill. Serves 8.