herby beetroot salad
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Of course I know that the textbook pairing of beetroot is with goat’s cheese, with a few pea shoots adorning the dish. But if I were vegetarian, I’d be in tears of boredom seeing the beetroot salad everywhere as the starter option for me. It’s not that it is a bad pairing – but why can’t they use a different kind of cheese every now and then?
And the beetroot really needn’t be cooked. If you slice it thinly and leave it to macerate in a simple vinaigrette, it will lose the raw edge but remain crunchy – and who doesn’t like crunchy?
The rainbow beets I used are pretty; the salad will look divine with a selection of red and golden ones, too – which is important since we eat with our eyes as much. Baby beets will be neater to slice but surprisingly, they aren’t better in taste or texture. Root vegetables are clearly nothing like beans or potatoes.
Thus having demonstrated the superiority of my salad as compared to leading restaurants’, here goes…
herby beetroot saladServings: 2Time: about an hour
- 300g (10oz.) small beetroots
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- a large pinch of sea salt flakes plus more to season to taste later
- black pepper
- 1 tbsp. good white wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, shaved thinly or grated
- ½ lemon
- 30g (2 tbsp.) hard sharp cheese (Gruyere, Comte, Gouda etc.), shaved or coarsely grated
- a handful of mint, rocket and tarragon leaves
Wash and peel the beetroots. Slice them as thinly as you can using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler. Place them in a bowl; add the oil, salt, a few grindings of black pepper, the vinegar and the garlic. Leave to soften for half an hour.
Lift the beetroot slices with tongs onto a serving plate or bowl, leaving the dressing with released juices in the original bowl. Squeeze the lemon over the beetroot, sprinkle more salt and pepper to taste and top with the shaved cheese.
Toss the herbs in the remaining dressing in the first bowl, then pile it over the salad and serve.