It’s like getting a bonus prize, a twofer, when you buy fresh beets with their lovely beet greens attached. Not only do you have the rosy subterranean beauties, the beetroots, to enjoy, but you have the striking green tops with their bold red veins to savor as well. I find the simplicity of a simple sauté the best way to cook these greens.
1 bunch (about 4 beets) beets including the bushy fresh-looking green tops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Trim off the beet greens leaving 1 inch of stem attached to the beetroot. Reserve the beetroots for another use. Trim and discard the thick, fibrous stems from the greens and remove any wilted or spotted leaves. Stack the greens on top of one another and slice down the middle through the center vein. Chop the greens into large pieces, about 2-by-3 inches wide. Rinse the greens in several changes of cold water until the greens are clean and the water is clear. Dry using a salad spinner or place the greens on paper towels and blot dry.
In a 12-inch sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic and sauté until soft but not brown, about 1 minute. Add the greens. Using tongs, toss the greens until wilted but still crisp-tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, season lightly with salt and pepper, and then give the greens a final toss in the pan. Serve immediately.