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Farm Fresh: Orange zest makes oven-roasted beets sparkle

Thursday, June 22, 2000

Tested by Betsy Kline

This is a simple recipe, although the oven roasting requires an hour or so. But it's worth the wait. Oven-Roasted Beets With Orange Gremolata is a beautiful side dish, and its earthy flavor complements grilled meats or poultry.

Fresh beets from the market are exquisite: You'll never touch canned beets again.

Oven-Roasted Beets With Orange Gremolata

1 to 1 1/2 pounds medium-sized beets (about 4 to 6)

1/3 cup packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 1/2 strips (1/2 by 2 inches) orange zest (remove with a vegetable peeler)
1 garlic clove, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim the beet tops down to the base. (Unblemished greens can be cooked as another side dish, if you like.) Trim the long root from each beet and discard. Wash and dry beets. Wrap them individually in foil and roast in the oven until tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on size. When the beets are cool enough to handle, unwrap them and rub off the skins. (Your hands will turn pink, but it will scrub off.) They are now ready to dress and serve. Slice them into 1/4-inch-thick crosswise slices.

Make the gremolata: Combine parsley, orange zest, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the oil and process just to blend. (Or finely chop by hand and stir in salt, pepper and oil.)

Arrange the beet slices, overlapping on platter. Top with gremolata. Serve at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.

"Fresh & Fast" by Marie Simmons

If you have a fruit or vegetable that you would like to see featured, please call food editor Suzanne Martinson at 412-263-1760 or e-mail us at aburnett@post-gazette.com. or bkline@post-gazette.com. We're also looking for easy-to-make, quick recipes that highlight the fabulous flavors of fresh produce. Send to Farm Fresh, PG Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

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