from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters
Preheat the oven to 400. Remove the tops of the beets, leaving about ½ inch of stem. Wash the beets and put them in a baking pan with a splash of water. Cover and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they can be easily pierced through with a sharp knife. Uncover and allow to cool.
Peel the beets and cut off their tops and the bottom tails. Cut them in halves or quarters, sprinkle generously with vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar if desired. Add oil sparingly after the beets have absorbed the vinegar, 15 min or more.
Suggested salads for beets prepared as described above:
Beets, sherry vinegar, orange zest, tarragon, and a bit of crushed garlic.
Beets, white wine vinegar, shallots, and arugula or lettuce.
Beets, vinegar, and chives, with smoked fish, crème fraiche and lemon juice.
Beets, balsamic, shallots, and toasted walnuts.