A new grocer opened up in town a couple of months ago. It was a familiar stranger from a town where I previously lived. I visited often as it was close to where I worked. I tried to stop one day soon after they opened, but after unsuccessfully circling the parking lot, I left with the intention of returning after the hubbub had died down; that few days turned into several weeks; what a sad affair.
Last Friday I had a glorious few minutes to spare. I was in the area, this market no longer being the closest to me, so decided to stop. Parking and walking up to the entrance, I was immediately reminded of what I missed.
The entrance was inviting, like stepping into someone’s planted courtyard. There were pots of herbs and hanging planters of brown terracotta dipped in white and cylindrical birdfeeders hung horizontally – and I hadn’t even stepped thru the automatic doors.
I made a beeline for the produce section as I was on the hunt for chanterelles since my vegetable man was out. Before I could find the golden fungus, the beets beckoned. I love them in all of their dirt-caked wonder. Deep burgundy red globes that stain all they contact and divinely mild yellow-orange beets the color of my favorite French marigolds. And, tucked right beside these earth dwellers were lovely Chioggia, aka candy-cane beets. I’ve seen pictures, read recipes with these beets, but never selected them up before. Not this time, though, a big one went into the basket.
I’d like to tell you that my new heart-beet adventure was some fancy-Nancy gastro-creation that was going to take over the culinary world, but that simply was not the case. My belief is that some things are just better with a simple application.
The Chioggias – note: they are named after a city in Italy – were scrubbed lightly, so as to not disturb the skin, which is thinner than everyday beets, and roasted at 425 degrees for about an hour, along with some everyday beets. They cooled for a few minutes, were peeled, sliced, plattered up, splashed with olive oil and dusted with sea salt and coarse ground pepper.
I could come up with some brilliant encores for my new beet obsession, however, I’ll end the story. Isn’t that part of a good read, when you don’t want it to end?
I did managed to gather a few more items from the new market, but in my beet-driven state forgot the chanterelles. Oh well, there’s always another trip, right?
Happy eating –