Every time that i eat a beet i think: f*** i love beets. In those words. In my head.
My kitchen mouth--well behaved with my recent "early retirement"--kicked into mental gear just now, eating a salad. Innocent, unassuming salad, and profanity. Neither the salad nor i was particularly shocked, however (no spritely arugula wilted at the curse), for this is a common occurance when i eat a beet.
It is not that i do not know what a beet tastes like; i have had them simply simmered to softness, roasted and caramelly, in several variations of soup (my favorites being Waterfront Wines' brothey version, and my own--toot toot--pureed with roasted tomatoes), as a bruschetta (a less pureed version of my soup...), fried as chips, as a cure for fish (Jamie Oliver has a version in his newest cookbook in case you are wondering what the hell i am talking about--oh, the profanity continues!) and mom's pickled ones. But for as many variations as there are for beet preparation, i rarely eat them. Probably because of the preparation. Probably because of the availability of such favorites as fennel, tomatoes, and cauliflower (all of which pair quite well with beets, i might add and make a mental note of...) at the same time as beets. It doesnt matter really, the fact is that i eat them so rarely, yet love them so much, that the flavour instantly ignites the same knee-jerk reaction that jerking one's knee into something hard/sharp/pointy quite forcefully would. A simple "mmmmm" (more whimper like in the latter) does not suffice. Its more of a where-have-you-been-all-my-life (oh-right:right-here-all-along-i-feel-silly-i-promise-to-eat-you-more-often) moment, even if i dont follow through with that promise.
Beets never fail to be unexpectedly sweet, while at the same time being deeply earthy; they are balanced alone, needing not a complimentary companion--though there are so many. Those friends of beets bring them to a different level, too, so they can be sweeter, or earthier, neutralize salt and citrus, pronounce spices like cumin, aniseed, and cinnamon, brighten heavy, creamy, cheeses, allow sharp goat cheeses to melt seductively against the beets richness. I like the golden ones best. Probably because they are yellow. Probably because tonight they were shaved into a salad of arugula, torn canned artichokes, and toasted hazelnuts, and i ate one for the first time in so long that i had a moment. I apologize if i offended anyone, but seriously, they were so f'in good.
Beets winter over, too. In fact, this guy tonight, was from this summers last harvest--months ago. But it was still just as bright, in color and flavour--like my language.