Last week, it was on the cooler side, a bit rainy (for Southern California) and kind of grey outside. I loved it! I wrapped myself in a sweater, drank tea, listened to Nimrod snore, turned this up, and just felt cozy being inside. I took advantage of the drop in temperature to turn on my oven, and basked in the little waves of heat it gave off while inhaling the aroma of fresh focaccia and these earthy, slightly sweet beets and rutabaga.
Repetitive tasks like lining up and spiraling out these paper-thin slices of red and gold beets and rutabaga transport me to a spot where I can relax and focus on only what’s in front of me. I like that. This took about 30 minutes to slice and arrange. Or maybe it was more like 45 … I didn’t really time it. If you lay alternating slices of the three root vegetables in a strip down your palm in a line, you can press sections of it around the pan, starting around the outside, tipping them upwards at a 120-degree angle. You can also lay these beets down flat, which is a bit easier, just start your spiral in the center and work your way out, like I did for this ratatouille.
To make the sections really tight, go back and insert leftover slices of root vegetables in between the slices, and push everything down slightly with the palms of your hands flattened out. Place into a 400-degree oven for about an hour and watch it be transformed from this:
To this! You’ll want to oil your pan before adding the mandolined root vegetables, then be generous with another drizzle of oil to prevent burning. Balsamic and fresh thyme are added after the one-hour bake time, then given another 15-minute bake to finish. Serve with fresh focaccia and a glass of red wine!
- 3 medium-sized red beets
- 3 medium-sized golden beets
- 3 medium-sized rutabaga
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 TB balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
To prepare the beets
- Scrub the beets and rutabaga. Lop off the ends, and peel away the skin with a Y-Peeler or sharp knife.
- Starting with the rutabaga, use a mandoline slicer and slice them all up. Place in one pile. Repeat the process with the golden beets, and finish with the red beets.
- Place about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of a 6.5-inch cast iron skillet.
- Place alternating slices of beets in a straight line down the palm of your hand. I could fix about six at a time. Place them around the edge of the pan in a tight spiral. Keep working until the pan is filled. When you are done, go back and insert extra slices to make the arrangement tight. Once done, slightly press down on the top to make sure all of the slices are wedged in. Drizzle with more of the olive oil, season with some salt and pepper and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 400.
- Once preheated, place the skillet into the oven to bake for an hour, checking on it every 15 minutes to ensure the tops are not burning. Drizzle again with a little more olive oil if any portions of the tops start to look singed.
- Remove from the oven, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the fresh thyme. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately straight out of the pan with crusty bread or focaccia and a glass of red wine.