cooking crazy beets
June 18, 2013
This beetroot dish is a bit over the top, but quite fun to put together. I’m using golden and candy stripe beetroot because they are the more unusual and they don’t leave your chopping board looking like a crime scene.
Strip away the earthy knobbly outer edge and inside you normally have a whole lotta physcadelic shit going on…
Just look at that…
However, I open my candy stripe beetroot, that I brought home from a specialist greengrocers, tongue hanging out with anticipation and…
…oh the disappointment. You can barely make out the stripe, let alone a candy coloured one.
However… the show must go on.
To make my not-so-crazy beets — aka ‘Pickled Beetroot, Goats Curd, Hazelnuts’ — as a starter for 2 people you’ll need:
50ml sherry vinegar (you could use rice vinegar or any other nice tasting)
50ml good olive oil
smoked salt (Maldon have brought it out)
3 different kinds of beetroot: candy stripe, golden and purple
a small tub of goats curd or soft rindless goats cheese
hazelnut butter (you can get it in wholefoods)
a handful of hazelnuts
about 5 pink peppercorns
This dish is so easy to make and assemble but does require one key tool, the Japanese mandolin, in order to get the beetroot slices super thin.
I would strongly recommend buying one of these, it’s not your usual faddy gadget. A mandolin — without being too dramatic — will change your life.
First, make your dressing that will pickle the beetroot. Essentially this is just a simple vinegarette.
Get an empty jam jar, add the vinegar with a tablespoon of caster sugar, the olive oil and about 1 tsp of salt. Give it a shake up and set aside.
Cut the rough outer skin from the beetroot and, using a mandolin, slice it as fine as possible. For the love of God though, watch those fingers.
If your beetroot are massive like mine, trim them down, so that you have discs about 2 inches across.
Leave the discs to marinate for at least 3 hours. You can leave them to pickle in the vinegar for over a week. Make sure if using different coloured beetroot that you keep them in separate containers or the purple ones will stain the others.
After an adequate time pickling, remove the discs, pat dry and plate.
Now for the curd. I got mine fresh. It’s nice to have goat’s cheese that isn’t too strong, so I’d recommend curd, or flavoured ricotta.
Make pebble size balls and sandwich them between the beetroot discs.
Use either pre-bought cooked beetroot, or roasted beetroots (mine are just cooked low ‘n slow for 3 hours with plenty of salt).
Chop them up and add to the plate with some basil.
The hazelnut bit is a bit of a cheat, but you can get hazelnut butter in a jar these days, and it’s nice.
Toast your hazelnuts in a dry pan.
Lastly, sprinkle with smoked salt (thanks Maldon)
…and toasted pink peppercorns (this brings out the flavour).
Now beet it.