A Fresh & Zesty Beet Salad To Welcome Spring

BeetSaladPhoto: Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.
America's Test Kitchen — a real, 2,500-square-foot test kitchen just outside of Boston — is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Their mission? To develop the absolute best recipes by testing, then testing again (and again…) so you feel confident enough in the kitchen to cook everything from a simple, mid-week meal to an entire Sunday dinner party menu.
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We wanted to come up with a streamlined recipe for beets that maximized their sweet, earthy flavor. To achieve this goal in less than an hour, we braise the halved beets on the stovetop in minimal water, reduce the residual cooking liquid, and add light brown sugar and vinegar. This flavor-packed glaze is just thick enough to coat the wedges of peeled beets. For flavor and texture contrast, we add toasted nuts (or pepitas), fresh herbs (or scallions), and aromatic citrus zest (or pungent, freshly grated ginger) just before serving.
Beets With Lemon And Almonds
Serves 4-6
Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds beets, trimmed and halved horizontally
1 1/4 cups water
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Instructions
Place beets, cut side down, in single layer in 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven. Add water and 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until beets are tender and tip of paring knife inserted into beets meets no resistance, 45 to 50 minutes.
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Transfer beets to cutting board. Increase heat to medium-high and reduce cooking liquid, stirring occasionally, until pan is almost dry, five to six minutes. Add vinegar and sugar; return to boil; and cook, stirring constantly with heat-resistant spatula, until spatula leaves wide trail when dragged through glaze, one to two minutes. Remove pan from heat.
When beets are cool enough to handle, rub off skins with paper towel or dish towel and cut into 1/2-inch wedges. Add beets, shallot, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to glaze and toss to coat. Transfer beets to serving dish; sprinkle with almonds, mint, and thyme, and serve.
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