(from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan)
The very best way to cook beets is to bake them. It concentrates their flavor to an intense, mouth-filling sweetness that is to swoon over if you have never had them. No other method compares with baking in the oven. It takes time, but doesn't take watching. Sliced baked beets seasoned with olive oil, salt, and vinegar is one of the most delicious salads you can make.
1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2 Cut off tops of beets and base of stems; trim root ends.
3 Wash beets in cold water, then wrap all together in aluminum foil, crimping the edge to seal.
4 Put them in the upper part of the oven. They are done when they feel tender but firm when prodded with a fork, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
5 While warm, but cool enough to handle, pull off blackish skin. Cut in slices.
When ready to serve, toss with salt, olive oil, and a dash of vinegar.
Best the day they are done, served still faintly warm. Can be refrigerated for a few days.