Beet tops are a deliciously sweet kind of dark leafy green. When you pull fresh beets from the garden or buy them at the farmer’s market, use the greens for a terrific warm salad. Our friend Michael prepared these for us in Maine with beet tops from our garden. The vinaigrette and creamy goat cheese balance the sweet, rich flavor of the greens. You have to keep tasting the greens to get the right cooking time. If they’re undercooked, the sweet flavor doesn’t come out; overcooked, they turn mushy. But it’s not hard if you just pay attention to them and taste every couple of minutes. It doesn’t take long, and they’re worth it!
A few bunches of beet greens
Red wine vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 or 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Five or six drops of tamari gluten-free soy sauce (optional)
A log of chevre
- Slice the stems out of the greens. Chop the stems into 1.5- or 2-inch pieces. Coarsely chop the greens. Soak the greens and stems separately to remove dirt; then rinse them again.
- Prepare the vinaigrette: combine olive oil and red wine vinegar in a 4:1 ratio. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and tamari (if using); whisk together.
- Heat some water in the bottom of a large steamer pot. When it boils, put the stems in first. Cover and cook about two minutes (slightly longer if the stems are very thick). Then add the greens, and cover. Cook another five minutes or until they’re cooked down and tender to taste. (On our circa-1964 Maine stove, they took closer to 20 minutes—but that’s on a weak burner.)
- In a bowl, toss the stems and greens with the vinaigrette. Taste and add vinegar if you want a little more sharpness. Top with knobs of chevre, and serve.