Beets can be scary.
And rightly so, the Celts used to carve them, place a candle inside and put them out for Samhain ("sow-when" or prehistoric Halloween). And if you are wondering how they got a candle into those fist sized things, you haven't seen how big a beet can get. If left all summer and fall in the ground, they can get, literally, as big as your head.
And a big purple-red head sized thing, carved and glowing with a candle inside. THAT would be terrifying.
But beets can also be tasty.
One of the strangest things about beets is their strange vegetable sweetness combined with their soft cooked-carrot texture, and their ability to turn the whole world pink.
I won't lie, I even shy away from the vibrant red beets much of the time (though they do make a good crayon), and lean toward the golden beet, or the candy-striped chioggia.
This salad is about moving away from the scary, unfamiliar bits of beets, and making them worth a second look.
2 -3 "baby" beets (very small)
a large handful of baby lettuce leaves (to stay with a theme) - or anything tender
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs mild vinegar (rice, champagne, something that doesn't curl your nose hairs right off when you smell it)
1 tsp mustard
1 clove garlic smashed to smithereens
salt & pepper
(mandolin or V-slicer - helpful but not essential)
whisk or tightly closing small container
utensils for serving and eating the salad
Make the dressing - in your salad bowl combine the vinegar, mustard and a little salt & pepper. Whisk in the garlic, and then slowly pour in the oil as you whisk... or place all of the above in a little container, clap on the lid and shake like crazy.
Give the beets a rinse and a bit of a scrub.
Chop off the leaves and the roots (the scraggley hairy bit at the bottom).
Use your carrot peeler to peel off the skin.
Then use a mandolin, V-slicer, or your carrot peeler to make "wafer-thin" slices of your beet.
Put these in the salad bowl with your dressing.
Wash the lettuce greens, tear up if they are big, or leave whole if they really are baby.
Toss it all together.
The chioggia beets are especially striking looking - all stripey and cool!