Welcome to SAVEUR’s column on how to cook local produce according to our test kitchen manager, Fatima Khawaja. This is where you’ll find creative, unfussy meal ideas plus plenty of cooking advice—like what to do with that bumper crop of zucchini or how to store delicate heirloom tomatoes. Every other week, Fatima hits the farmers market and chooses a peak-season ingredient to explore in depth. Follow along, and you’ll learn how to turn the season’s bounty into easy plant-based meals that’ll be on the table in under an hour.
Sorry I’m not sorry, I don’t like pickling at home. Sterilizing the jars, boiling and cooling the solution—none of it is my idea of a good time. So I resort to the quick pickle, an easy way to get similar results
Champagne vinegar is my go-to quick-pickling medium for its tart sweetness that’s not too astringent. When it comes to aromatics, I don’t adhere to any rulebook, but I’ve found that the refreshing bite of warm, toasted fennel seeds works wonderfully with pickled beets.
When shopping for any type of root vegetable, always seek out firm, crack-free specimens. I aim to gather a colorful mix of beets if available, and once I get home, I remove the green tops, give them a good wash, and save them in a damp paper towel for a quick sautée. If you have leftover bulbs that you don’t want to pickle, whip up this bright, nutty dip or make a sweet and piquant salad with citrus and yogurt.
Enjoy these tangy beets in a salad of kale or arugula tossed with sharp cheese and crunchy nuts or seeds. Or slice them thinly and add them to a sandwich. Or, if you’re like me, just pop ‘em like candy.
- 1 lb. beets, trimmed and gently cleaned
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
- 1 tsp. toasted fennel seeds
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375ºF. On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss the beets with the oil, then season generously with salt and black pepper. Fold the foil around the beets to enclose completely, then bake until soft when pierced with a knife, 1–1½ hours.
- When cool enough to handle, unwrap the beets, rub off the skin, and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the vinegar, fennel seeds, and salt and black pepper to taste. Toss to coat and marinate, refrigerated, for at least 30 minutes before serving. (Refrigerated in an airtight container, the pickled beets will keep for up to 4 days.)