Annie Pettry didn’t always like beets. When she was a kid, her mom sometimes made beet burgers for dinner: shredded beets, egg, and flour formed into a patty and served just like a hamburger on a bun with all the fixings. Luckily, somewhere along the way, Pettry—now the executive chef at Decca in Louisville—came to love beets for their variety, versatility, and incredible flavor. Of the many varieties of beets the most commonly available types are red, Chioggia (candy stripe), and golden. They can be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, steamed, sautéed, fried, pureed, pickled, or juiced. You can even use the juice to die red velvet cake or to make pickled eggs pink. Each preparation highlights a different aspect of the beet. For example, roasting beets brings out the inherent sweetness and intensifies their earthy flavor, while a thinly shaved raw beet is bright, crunchy, and almost bitter. The possibilities are many, but to Chef Pettry nothing beats a beet that has been roasted to tender and served with a squeeze of citrus, a glug of good olive oil, and a sprinkling of sea salt.
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