A celebration of beetroot

A celebration of beetroot

By
From
Lagom
Photographer
Yuki Sugiura

Beetroot features in many Scandinavian cookbooks, often pickled or as a way to add colour and flavour to gravadlax. And, while it is a popular vegetable, it is perhaps not quite as ubiquitous as these books would have us believe. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t make an appearance from time to time on our tables, but more often than not they are served with little ceremony, enjoyed for their sweet, earthy flavour by simply roasting or serving boiled with a little fresh cheese or butter.

A particular, traditional favourite is cooked beetroot, chopped into cubes with apple and served in a salad with plenty of mayonnaise as a creamy, almost fluorescent pink sandwich topper or side dish. Here are some other ideas for making the most of this misaligned root. All of these recipes use fresh beetroot – not the brined or cooked versions, which while convenient, are a bit too astringent for my taste.

“Trampa inte rödbetor i mossen” [“Don’t trample beetroot into the bog”, i.e. don’t sweat the small stuff!] Swedish saying

Quick pickled beetroot with chillies & anise

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
800g small beetroot
500ml white wine vinegar
150g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon dried chillies
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 star anise
1 teaspoon juniper berries

Method

  1. Wash, trim and scrub the beetroot carefully, making sure they don’t bleed too much. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the beetroot, cooking until just tender, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool a little, then cut into wedges.
  2. Heat the vinegar, sugar, chillies, bay leaves and spices in a small saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Transfer the beetroot to a sterilized jar and pour over the liquid. Seal and allow to cool completely before refrigerating. The beetroot is ready the next day and can be stored in a cool place for up to 1 month.

Beetroot tarte Tatin with salsa verde

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the tarte Tatin

Quantity Ingredient
400g small fresh beetroot, scrubbed
1/2 block puff pastry
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
tablespoon1 sherry vinegar
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
1 egg, beaten

For the salsa verde

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons green olives, stoned
1/2 garlic clove
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
squeeze lemon juice
1 large bunch leafy mixed herbs

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
rocket
feta, crumbled

Method

  1. For the tarte Tatin, bring a saucepan of water to the boil then pop in beetroot. Cook for 30 minutes, or until soft when pierced with a knife. Drain and cool before cutting into 1-cm thick slices.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll the puff pastry out to about 3mm thick. Cut out a circle using an ovenproof frying pan as your guide. Refrigerate.
  3. Place the frying pan on a high heat and add the maple syrup with a pinch of sea salt. Bubble away for a couple of minutes. Add the sherry vinegar and thyme, swirling around the pan for about 30 seconds before removing from the heat. Arrange the beetroot slices in the pan, overlapping a little.
  4. Working quickly, drape the pastry over the beetroot, tucking it in around the edges. Brush the egg all over the pastry and bake for 25–30 minutes until puffed up and golden.
  5. Meanwhile, make the salsa verde by blitzing all of the ingredients in a blender, adding a splash of water if too thick. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Turn the tarte out onto a plate using a palette knife to help you. Scatter some rocket and feta over the tart, then spoon over the salsa verde.

Creamy beetroot linguine with cannellini beans & walnuts

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 medium beetroot, scrubbed and cut into wedges
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
few thyme sprigs, leaves picked
400g canned cannellini beans, drained
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
400g wholemeal linguine
feta, crumbled, to serve
few dill sprigs, roughly chopped, to serve
toasted walnuts, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the beetroot [beet] wedges and garlic in a roasting tray and drizzle with the oil. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the thyme leaves. Roast for 30–40 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramelize.
  2. Remove from the oven, and trim any tough, darker bits off the beetroot. Put in a food processor or, if using a stick blender, a deep jug. Squeeze the garlic from their skins and add to the beetroot.
  3. Tip in the cannellini beans, vinegar, crème fraîche and 100ml water and blitz until you have a smooth paste – add more water if it seems very thick.
  4. Cook the linguine according to the packet instructions and drain. Return to the still-warm pan and stir through the beetroot sauce. Serve topped with a little crumbled feta, some dill and toasted walnuts for crunch.

Beetroot & rosemary fritters with blue-cheese cream

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the fritters

Quantity Ingredient
500g beetroot, peeled
1 onion
2 medium potatoes, cooked until soft
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 egg
1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil or olive oil

For the cream

Quantity Ingredient
100g creamy blue cheese, such as Roquefort
100g half-fat creme fraiche
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
rocket
watercress salad

Method

  1. Begin by coarsely grating the beetroot and onion into a large bowl. This may well be a messy process so don’t wear your favourite shirt. Roughly mash the potatoes with a fork before mixing together with the beetroot.
  2. Add the flour, egg, rosemary, parsley and plenty of seasoning and mix well. Form the mixture into 7–8 thick patties, about 8cm in diameter and set aside.
  3. To make the cream, mash the blue cheese in a bowl, then whisk in the crème fraîche to loosen. Add the mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar, then season to taste.
  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the fritters over a low-medium heat for about 8–10 minutes on each side, until crisp and cooked through.
  5. Serve immediately with the blue cheese cream and a rocket and watercress salad.
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