Seasonal local food recipe No 112: Beetroot with soy-citrus Ⓥ

Nigel Slater salad from the Observer. It goes beautifully with Cornish smoked mackerel and is perfect made with the red chillis in Camel CSA’s veg boxes this week.

Nigel says: “Anyone who likes cooked beetroot, but isn’t fond of it pickled, may like to try this way with them. The salad has some of the crisp, acidic flavour of a good pickle, but is infinitely more mellow. I had intended this to be a side dish, but it is so good, it became the focus of a light lunch with smoked salmon and rye bread. Lovely fresh flavours and a good introduction to beetroot for the uninitiated.”

(I used cider vinegar instead of sherry vinegar.)

Serves 4 as part of a light main course

Preparation / cooking time: 60 minutes

raw beetroot 6 small to medium
oil vegetable, rapeseed or groundnut

For the dressing:
ginger, freshly grated 1 tsp
orange juice 125ml
lemon juice 3 tbsp
dark soy 3 tsp
small, red chilli 1
sherry vinegar 1 tbsp

Scrub the beetroot and trim its leaves, without tearing the skin, then either boil or bake till tender to the point of a knife. To bake, set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6, place the beetroots on a sheet of foil, pour over a glug of mild cooking oil then close the foil loosely over them. Bake for 40 minutes or so, depending on the size of your beets, till you can insert a skewer easily into them. To boil them, drop the beetroots into boiling, unsalted water and simmer, partially covered, for 20-30 minutes till tender.

Remove the skins from the beetroots – they should be easy to push off with your thumb. Slice the beets roughly the same thickness as a pound coin then put them in a serving dish.

Make the dressing: put the grated ginger in a mixing bowl, pour in the orange and lemon juices then add the soy sauce. Halve, seed and finely slice the red chilli, then add a little of it to the dressing with the sherry vinegar, and mix well. Check for balance – it should be sweet, sour and fruity. Add more soy or juice, or chilli as you wish. I find that barely half a small chilli is enough. Spoon the dressing over the sliced beetroot and leave for a few minutes before serving.

More beetroot recipe ideas from Camel CSA

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