Until I was about 28 or 29, I labored under the delusion that I didn't like beets. I can be forgiven for this mistake, since I thought they only came in cans; I don't think I saw a real beet until around then. In defense of my mom, most other kids my age probably never did, either. I'm not sure why I tried them again, but hooboy, I'm glad I did.
The greens are brilliant chopped up, sauteed with garlic, onions, olive oil, pine nuts, raisins, and orange zest; either as a side dish or tossed with whole wheat pasta (and maybe a little crispy pancetta, if you live in this house) as a meal. And those brilliant round, reddish purple globes...well. I used to think roasted was just fine thank you.
Searching for something to do with our ton of remaining beets from our CSA, I came across this recipe from Bon Appetit. It's one of those "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" things. And really, any dish that looks like it's bathed in Pepto Bismol has got to be fun to eat, right? (Don't let the color turn you off. This recipe is brilliant.) I'd post a photo, but, well...we ate them all.
Beet Gratin from Bon Appetit
3 2 1/2-3 in diameter beets, trimmed and scrubbed salt and pepper to taste
3/4 c heavy cream 2 fresh mint sprigs, plus 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh mint reserved
1 smashed, peeled garlic clove (I used large pieces of chives instead, about 2 tbsp)
1/2 c crumbled feta
Preheat oven to 400. Place beets in a small baking dish. Add enough water to reach 1/4 inch. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil, bake til tender, about 50 minutes. (Alternatively, you can boil them for about an hour. I had roasted AND boiled in mine...not much of a difference.) Uncover carefully and let cool til you can handle; peel. Cut into 1/4 inch slices.
Adjust oven to 425. Bring cream, mint sprigs, garlic (or chives) to a boil. (Watch carefully, since volcanic cream is not a good thing.) Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes.
Grease a 1.5 quart gratin or casserole dish. Arrange sliced beets in single layers, sprinkling salt and pepper to taste on each layer. Strain the cream mixture over the beets. Sprinkle with feta. Bake until the cream is bubbling and feta is browned in spots, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped mint, let stand 5 minutes.