This will be my fifth post on beets! Obvious enough that I have a real passion for these gorgeous garnet red gems plucked out of the ground. When roasted their sweet earthy flavor and aroma affirms their comforting and nourishing simple goodness.
Very easy to prepare. Basically from oven to table is all there is to it.
Here I have roasted the beets, unpeeled garlic, and a few sprigs of thyme tossed with extra virgin olive oil. The preserved lemon and oil cured olives are added towards the end of the roasting. Served warm from the oven, leaving the skins on the beets, with a splash of preserved lemon brine, a sprinkle of toasted cumin seeds, and a light shower of smoked sea salt.
Roasted Beets with Preserved Lemon
For preserved lemons (see here)
- 8 medium sized beets
- 16 garlic cloves, skin on
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup preserved lemon strips (or 1 tablespoon lemon zest)
- ½ cup small oil cured black olives
- 1 tablespoon preserved lemon brine (or lemon juice)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
- Maldon smoked sea salt (or flaked sea salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh flat leaf parsley sprigs.
Preheat the oven to 400f/210c
Cook’s note: A small ( 5”x 1½ “) soft bristled laundry brush, which costs a pittance, is indispensable in my kitchen and ideal for scrubbing vegetables. No need to pay a handsome price for a fancy one at a cookery shop.
Place the beets, garlic cloves, and thyme sprigs in a baking pan just large enough to hold all the ingredients. Pour the oil over all and toss with your hands, being sure to evenly coat all the ingredients. Cover the pan with foil, crimping the foil around the edges of the pan to make a tight seal.
Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes to1 hour or until the beets are soft and tender when pierced with a wooden skewer.
After testing, add the preserved lemon and olives and toss to combine with the other ingredients. Reseal the pan with the foil and roast another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes.
There is no need to peel the beets before serving. The skin is very soft and adds a hearty earthiness to the overall flavor of the finished dish.
Serving: Remove the foil from the pan, pick out the thyme sprigs, and discard. Add the toasted cumin seeds and toss. Splash the preserved lemon brine (or lemon juice) over all and toss. You can then serve on a platter or plate individual servings. Finish with the flaked salt, freshly ground black pepper, and fresh parsley sprigs.
Note: A delicious flourish for this dish is a scattering of crumbled creamy goat cheese that softens over the warm beets!