Beetroot is more usually associated with the depths of winter, but it’s in late spring and summer that it is at its best and sweetest. If you get them whole, with leaves and stems still attached, make sure you use those too – swiss chard is basically the leaves of a beet plant. Use it as you would any spring greens – but if you are going to store the vegetables for a while, cut the leaves off and store them separately because they draw moisture away from the root, drying it out.
Beetroot Salad with Caper and Shallot Dressing
You will need: (Serves 4)
- 2 red beetroots
- 2 yellow beetroots
- 2 candy beetroots
- 1 Jerusalem artichoke
- 200g winter peppery salad leaves
- 1 shallot
- 100ml olive oil
- Dash Sherry vinegar
- A few sprigs of chervil
- 1 small handful of lilliput capers
1) Make the dressing by finely dicing the shallots, covering in olive oil and very slowly cooking for about 10 mins making sure the shallots don’t colour. Allow to cool and add the capers and sherry vinegar.
2) To cook the beetroots, place the yellow and candy beetroots in a deep oven tray and the red beetroots in a separate oven-proof tray. In the trays, season well with salt add a splash of white wine, a little more vinegar, 2 cloves of crushed garlic and a few sprigs of thyme.
3) Cover the trays tightly with foil and cook at 180c until cooked.
4)To test whether cooked, poke the largest beetroot with a knife if it passes through easily you know they are all cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Then peel off the skin (this is easiest when the beetroots are still warm). Cut up the beetroots roughly.
5) Make the Jerusalem artichoke crisps, slice them very thinly then shallow fry in oil until golden and crispy.
6) To assemble the salad mix the beetroots with the leaves and dressing lightly with the dressing and season with salt. Place on a plate and top with a few of the Jerusalem artichoke crisps, more dressing and a few leaves of chervil.