Beetroot are sweet and earthy. Once I thought that they were red, but this is not so. They may be pink or creamy, little or big. They absorb flavour and make rich soups and crisp pickles. They are a perfect ingredient in a vegan goulash. But to my way of thinking they are perhaps at their most appealing in a cold weather salad. And to this version, I have added an English goat’s cheese.Virginia
The cheese which I have used here is Ticklemore, from Sharpham in Devon. There are three sorts of Norfolk beetroot in the salad – chioggia, golden beetroot and a classic red. The salad is dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and a few shreds of garlic, none of which are English… I like crunchy things and for this salad there are croutons, but you might well prefer crushed walnuts.
- Ingredients: Four or five whole, raw beetroot of any sort, 150g. of goat’s cheese, olive oil, a slice of bread, lemon, chives, watercress, garlic and black pepper.
- Method: First wash your beetroot and bake it just as you would a potato. Don’t cut off the base or the stalk yet. In the meanwhile, mix a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon, a few shreds of garlic and a sprinkling of black pepper. If lemon is too delicate for you, then use white wine vinegar instead. When you can easily poke a fork into the beetroot, take them from the oven and peel them. Put them into a bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Follow this with your onion element. I have used chives because it has been a rainy autumn and all my chives are turning limp in their pots, but any mild onion will do nicely.
- Turn your cheese to flakes and stir it through the beetroot. As for the croutons, all you have to do is cut up a slice of good bread, douse it with a bit of salt and olive oil and leave it in a hot oven for five or six minutes. The sprigs of watercress go on at the end.
You may eat this either chilled or warm. For a heartier rendition – later in the year perhaps – I might suggest a salad of red cabbage, classic beetroot and red onion. And for the cheese? A trimming of Beenleigh Blue, maybe.