Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, October 2010
- 9 red beets (about 3 inches in diameter), trimmed and scrubbed
- 2 cups béchamel sauce (recipe below)
- 4 tablespoons chopped mint
- 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta
Up to 2 days ahead: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets in baking dish and add 1/4 inch of water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover dish with foil. Bake until beets are tender, about 50 minutes. Uncover and cool. Peel beets and cut into 1/4-inch slices. (Refrigerate if making ahead.)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make béchamel sauce and keep warm. Lightly butter a large baking dish and arrange beet slices in even layers, sprinkling each layer with salt. Pour béchamel over beets and sprinkle feta on top. Bake until sauce is bubbling and feta is browned in spots, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle mint and ground black pepper on top. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Béchamel sauce for beet gratin
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 sprigs fresh mint
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
Slowly heat the milk with the mint and garlic until it reaches a boil. Turn off heat and let steep for at least 15 minutes.
In another saucepan, melt the butter, stir in the flour, and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the hot milk all at once, including the mint and garlic. Cook until thickened, then lower the heat as much as possible (or use a double boiler), cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the mint and garlic, and season with salt and pepper.