ROASTED BEETS WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE (for six)
6 to 8 beets (either red or yellow, or a mixture)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons thyme
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400*.
2. Trim the beets, leaving 1 inch of the stems attached, and scrub them well. Wrap the beets tightly in aluminum foil (three or more to a packet) and roast (on a jelly roll pan or baking sheet) in the middle of the oven until tender, about 1-1/2 hours. (The cooking time will vary according to the size of the beets – you want them tender all the way through when you pierce them with a small, sharp knife). Unwrap the beets carefully (steam will escape) and let them stand until they are cool enough to handle. Peel them under running water. (Beets are now ready for use. They may be roasted and peeled 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before proceeding. You can cut them into rounds, matchsticks, wedges, or whatever shape pleases you.)
3. In a large skillet stir together balsamic vinegar, maple syrup or honey, and olive oil. Add beets and cook with salt and pepper to taste over moderate heat, stirring, until heated through and coated well. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of thyme over beets and toss gently. Serve beets sprinkled with another teaspoon of thyme.