I grew up hating carrots and beetroots mostly because my mom would force me to have a carrot and beetroot stock as a kid. Very recently I went to a cocktail bar in Paris called Le Mary Celeste and tried (almost unknowingly) their beetroot salad – bam! Converted, for life. While working on this delightful vegetable I decided to do it three ways:
- A beetroot carpaccio
- Beetroot puree
- Pickled beetroots
I am not going to suggest standard measurements for these recipes because it is a bit instinct and taste based. Some might like the pickled beetroot too tangy (meeeeee) while others might like a milder version (my husbandman).
- Beetroots – regular and beetroot Chioggia (the kinds with the pink pattern inside and when sliced lifts up any dish for plating, also a chef’s favourite for fine dining around the world. But in case it is not easily available in your country, go with the regular ones)
- Tahini or chorizo (depends on whether you want to keep it strictly vegetarian or not)
- sesame seeds
- Balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, mirin or white wine vinegar
- capers (optional)
- salt and sugar
- coriander and fennel seeds seeds
- lemon juice and lemon zest
- Mint leaves
First step: Place the beetroots in a large saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently. Use a knife or fork to check if they are done. Drain and set aside. Wash and peel when it is cooled down.
For the Beetroot Carpaccio:
- If you are not using the Chioggia beetroot then just use the cooked beetroots from above. If you are using the Chioggia beetroot then just peel and keep aside.
- Finely grate the zest of one of the lemons and squeeze the juice. Add to a bowl of sugar, olive oil, capers and some salt (keep it moderate as this is not a very salty dish). Whisk all of the ingredients together until fully dissolved.
- Slice the beetroot into very thin rounds with a knife or mandolin slicer (magic item).
- Arrange the beetroot slices on a plate and spoon over the dressing and letting it sink. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
For the Pickled beetroots:
- In a pan, add the different kinds of vinegar (3-4 tbsp each to start with) and sugar. Halve the chillies lengthways and add to the pan along with a squeeze of lemon juice. Adjust the heat, salt, sugar, and acidity according to your taste.
- Dry roast the coriander seeds and fennel seeds with a pinch of sea salt and add it to the mixture above.
- Bring the liquid mix to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Chop the pre-cooked beetroots (according to a shape you desire, I like them cubed) and add it to a jar, pour the pickling liquid mix on top. Add a chilli seal, and leave it to infuse. Mine was well pickled the next day 🙂
For the Beetroot purée:
For best results just wrap beetroot in an aluminium foil and roast it until well cooked. Alternately, use the cooked beetroot from the first step above.
For the veg version– Combine beets, a little tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a food processor and process until puree is creamy and smooth, scraping down sides every 30 seconds. (It may take about 2 minutes or more for the mixture to become smooth.)
For the chorizo version– Use the oil remaining from cooking chorizo and add fry some garlic in it and add the beetroots. Cook for 2-3 minutes and combine it with a little tahini, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor and process until puree is creamy and smooth.
For plating, lay your beetroot purée first and add the pickled beetroots and carpaccio along with some toasted sesame seeds and fresh mint leaves. If the dish is too tangy for your guests’ taste (like mine here in France :p) add some crumbled goat cheese or a scoop of Philadelphia cream cheese to the plate.