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Chef Rob Connoley’s Favorite Recipes: Salt-Baked Beets


In tiny Silver City, New Mexico, the Curious Kumquat is elevating foraged ingredients with molecular gastronomy techniques. If you can’t make the foodie pilgrimage, you can at least try your hand at some of the recipes that earned Chef Rob Connoley a James Beard nod in 2014
Recipe: Salt-Baked Beets

“Many of my dishes straddle the line between sweet and savory,” Connoley says. “Left to my own devices, I would live off of salted sugar cubes! This dish is one of my favorites for moving guests from their meat courses into dessert.”

  • 2 medium-sized beets, whole, with the top and bottom removed
  • 3 ¾ cups kosher salt
  • ½ cup coffee, ground
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seed
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Combine the salt, coffee and fennel in a bowl. In an aluminum loaf pan pour ½” of the salt mixture to cover the bottom. Place the beets leaf side down on the salt. Cover the beets with the remaining salt mixture, ensuring that no beet is showing through the salt. Place in the oven and bake for 75 minutes or until tender when poked with a toothpick. Let cool enough to handle.

Using a kitchen towel rub the skin away from the beets, trimming any sticky skin with a paring knife. Cut the beets into long ¼-inch strips. Dissolve the sugar into the vinegar and place the beet strips in the vinegar until service.

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