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In the next of my series of how-to-make-hated-vegetables-palatable (see cabbage), let’s tackle beetroot. It never ceases to amaze me that it’s sold ready cooked. You don’t get carrots ready cooked in supermarkets, do you? Unless wandering into ready meals, which we don’t do here, do we. And carrots take just about as long to cook to tender. Ready cooked turnips, anyone? Ready roasted squash? Or parsnips? Why, oh why then poor beets?
Maybe it’s because they tend to colour the close environment crimson when handled, hands first and foremost? Oh get yourself a pair of disposable gloves then. Beetroots need to be roasted whole, with the stalks trimmed but not excessively – you want the skin intact to retain the moisture and flavour. That’s where I find fault with the ready-cooked beets that you buy in the shops. That – and the fact they will be mercilessly soused in vinegar, for reasons unknown.
They are lovely raw, they are. I’ve had a couple of sworn beet haters taste my salad and going ‘What do you know? Not so bad’. I’ve used them here half and half raw and cooked, for variety of texture, but do go for raw only if you feel adventurous enough.
The dressing is very simple but standard vinaigrette with added pressed garlic and/or dill will work well too.
beetroot saladServings: 2Time: 15 minutes plus roasting for an hour
- 4-6 medium sized beetroots, the smaller ones are nicer
- coarse salt and olive oil for roasting
- For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- chopped dill (optional)
- 2-3 gherkins, very finely chopped (optional)
1.Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. Wash half the beetroot and trim the stalks, leaving at least 1cm in length. Sprinkle with coarse salt and drizzle with oil, then wrap into a couple of layers of aluminium foil making a sealed parcel. Roast for an hour, then let the parcel cool slightly before unwrapping.
2.Peel the raw beets (gloves handy) and coarsely grate or julienne. When the cooked beets are good to handle remove the skins (it will come off easily) and grate or julienne as well. Mix both in a bowl.
3.Mix the dressing ingredients and toss with the beetroot salad. It tastes best when the cooked beets are still warm, the dressing will infuse them with flavour. It's great with fish. Salmon for one - matching colours...