I think it’s fair to suggest that most peoples experience with beetroot revolves around that stuff from a jar that’s highly acidic and generally left to one side of the plate, well don’t let that put you off giving this one a try, the subtle earthy flavour of the beetroot goes so well with the creamy, salty goats cheese. It’s a great dinner party dish as you can do all the prep work early and just assemble at the last minute.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3 medium sized tomatoes cut into quarters
- 2 little gem lettuces
- a good handful of pea shoots
- 200g soft goats cheese
- 4 or 5 medium sized fresh beetroots
- 1tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 50g walnuts
- finley chopped fresh chives
For the dressing:
- 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp honey plus extra for drizzling
- pinch of salt and pepper
1. First thing is to get the tomatoes and beetroots on. Place the quartered tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper and mix them up with the thyme. Place in a low oven (about gas mark 3 160°C/325°F) until the tomatoes have reduced until hardly any liquid is left. At the same time place your beetroots whole into a pan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes until tender, to test if they are ready insert a knife, if it goes in easy they are done. Leave the tomatoes and beetroots to cool completely.
2. Next take a frying pan and dry roast the walnuts for roughly 5 minutes until you can smell the nutty aroma, be careful not to burn them or they will taste bitter, just nicely toasted is what you want. Leave them to cool.
3. To make the dressing simply mix all the ingredients in a jug and whisk until the dressing is emulsified. Take your lettuce’s and remove the first couple of outer leaves and either throw away or give to the rabbit. Separate the rest of the leaves, rinse under a tap and leave in a bowl of iced water until ready to assemble the salad.
4. Once your beetroots have cooled, peel off the outer skins, this is easy but I suggest wearing some disposable gloves unless you want pink hands! Slice all the beetroots except 1 into wedges, then slice the other beetroot into thin slices. Put your beetroot into a bowl and drizzle a little of the dressing over and mix with a spoon.
5. Now you are ready to assemble the salad. In a large bowl place the lettuce, mint and pea shoots, a pinch of salt and pepper then drizzle a bit of the dressing over and mix with your hands. To make a portion, lay some of the leaves on a plate followed by some of the pea shoots, then take some of the sliced beetroot and lay in between around the edge of the plate. Next take some of your beetroot wedges and arrange in the centre, then 3 or 4 of the oven roasted tomatoes, then tear off pieces of the goats cheese (about 50g per person). Lastly crumble some of the walnuts on top, a sprinkle of freshly chopped chives and drizzle with some more dressing and a drizzle of honey.
I promise you will enjoy this, it’s light and refreshing and a definite crowd pleaser. Enjoy with a good English sparkling wine or some good cider, this will also go well with steamed or grilled fish.