Gernerally speaking I respect when people say they don’t like a certain food, and beets are not everyone’s favorite. I am not one to say, “Oh, you would like them the way I fix them!” I will say, however, that numerous people who claim to not like beets have said they like these!
Beets are loaded with sugar and really pretty when sliced cross-wise, so I decided they would be a good candidate for caramelizing. Last week the CSA bag had some really nice firm, fresh red beets and so I peeled them and sliced them cross-wise in quarter inch slices. They had beautiful concentric rings and the color was so deep red. That red wants to get on everything by the way, so be sure to use a non-porous cutting board and I even wear a latex glove so my fingers will not be red for 2 days.
I cook the slices in a skillet in olive oil on medium low for a long time. It takes a long time for the sugar in the beets to heat up and get hot enough to caremelize, but it is so worth it. Be sure and season them generaously with salt and pepper.
Take a peek underneath one and see if it’s ready. You will know because it will be brown with a little crust on it. When ready, flip them over and caramelize the other side. While this is happening, season this side with s&p, and then put a small dollop of pesto on the top center of each slice. You could certainly use fresh made pesto, but I use store-bought right from the jar and it works just fine. The star of the show here is the beet, not the pesto.
After the pesto is on each slice, drop a small piece of goat cheese on top of the pesto. Again, the goal is not to have a big cheesy affair, but the combination of the sweet earthy beets with the pungent and creamy goat cheese is one of nature’s finest.
The second side will likely not take quite as long as the first and once they are browned on both sides the dish will benefit from being put in a hot oven (400°) for a few minutes, just to get the pesto bubbly and the cheese melty.