I hated beetroot when I was younger – despised it as a kid, but hated it right up untill I was in my mid twenties. My mother always dished up pickled grated beetroot for lunch and dinner, and I couldn’t stand the way it “contaminated” everything else on my plate, the red watery sauce just seeping into every crumb of neighbouring food and colouring it a horrible bright pink.
Then I walked into Melissa’s a few years ago, and tried some of their beetroot and goats cheese salad as part of the lunch buffet. It was packed to the brim with great goodies like walnuts, fresh rocket and a wonderful tangy dressing that made this my first positive beetroot experience ever. And most important: it was made with freshly boiled sweet beetroot, skinned and sliced into slim wedges. It wasn’t dripping with the watery pink horrible sauce I remembered from my youth. It was just fantastic, and I became a beet fan.
Since then, I’ve cooked beetroot many times, skinning them when they are just tender and eating them straight from the pot. The smaller they are, the sweeter and more delicious. I found a very fresh bunch of beetroot at Blue Jay Farmstall around the corner, and paged through my Mediterranean cookbook for a simple, tasty recipe. I found a really simple Moroccan salad recipe that incorporated ground cumin in the dressing along with sliced sweet red onions and freshly chopped Italian parsley, making the beets the star of the show. I served it with pan-fried sirloin steak and Roman gnocchi (will tell you more about Roman gnocchi in my next post!)
- 6 beetroot (beets)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 red onion, sliced into thin slivers
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Trim the stems of the beetroot, leaving around 2 cm attached (don’t remove the roots yet). Wash well.
- Boil beetroot in salted water for 1 hour untill tender. Leave untill cool enough to handle.
- In a deep bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, cumin and a good grinding of black pepper to make the dressing.
- Wearing rubber gloves, peel the warm beetroot bulbs and trim the roots. Cut into slender wedges.
- Place beetroot slices in the dressing, adding onion slivers and chopped parsley. Toss well with dressing, and serve warm or at room temperature.
(This post was featured on Foodgawker.com)