Gingered Beets with Lemon

Roasted beets are so rich and earthy that they all but beg for flavor counterpoints. Here they get three – ginger’s bite, lemon’s tang, and a sweet suggestion of onion and garlic from the shallots. You can give this simple dish different guises depending on how you cut the beets. Slice them and it’s a vegetable side dish, or dice them neatly and call it a relish.

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 8 medium beets (about 3-inches in diameter; about 1 ¾ pounds total), scrubbed
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated zest and 3 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger, optional

Directions

  1. Set the oven rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap four beets tightly in foil; repeat with the second four beets and another sheet of foil. Place the bundles on a baking sheet and roast until the beets are tender, about 1 ¼ hours. Open the foil packets to allow steam to escape; when the beets are cool enough to handle, slip off and discard the skins (they will come off easily) and cut the beets into ½-inch thick slices or ½-inch cubes (you will have about 6 cups).
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonreactive bowl, vigorously whisk the lemon zest and juice, ginger, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste until well blended. Add the beets, shallots, and crystallized ginger, if using, toss to coat, and rest for about 15 minutes the meld flavors. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper if necessary, and serve.