Spiced beetroot salad
The sweet, earthy flavour of beetroot makes it one of my favourite vegetables. Rather the boiling them, try this method of wrapping them individually and roast them in their own sweet juices, which intensifies their flavour.
Winter's finest: Spiced beetroot salad. Photo: Marcel Aucar
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5 medium beetroot
1 tsp cumin seed, roasted and crushed
2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
1 orange, zested
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1/2 fennel bulb, finely sliced
4 green onions
200g fromage frais
1/4 bunch of dill, washed
Preheat the oven to 180C. Wrap the beetroot individually in foil, place on a baking tray and bake for about one hour. Insert a skewer to check they are soft. Cool slightly so you can handle them.
Peel the beetroot and cut into 1-cm-thick slices, then cut the slices into 1-cm sticks.
Place in a mixing bowl and add the cumin, oregano, orange zest, oil, lemon juice and balsamic. Season well with salt and pepper then toss gently.
Spoon some of the salad onto a serving plate then scatter with sliced fennel and green onions. Place spoonfuls of fromage frais around the salad, sprinkle dill fronds on top and season well with more salt and pepper.
Suggestion: A couple of alternatives for the salad are using roasted fennel seed instead of cumin, and goat's cheese instead of fromage frais. Crumble the same amount of goat's cheese onto a baking tray and toast it on 180C until it's golden for a beautiful cheesy crumble to sprinkle over any salad.
Once cooked and dressed, the beetroot salad tastes much better if you don't put it in the fridge.