A truly Barbie-esque salad. Raw, paper-thin candy-stripe beetroot is ridiculously pretty . It reminds me of the sticks of rock we sucked at in the back of the car as children, on the way back from our annual Welsh holiday. It always seemed magical how the Abersoch lettering never disappeared and, having done a bit of research, it’s still pretty baffling how anyone dreamt up the unbelievably complicated business of inlaying a stick of sugar with the name of a beach resort.
I found my stripey beetroot in the local green grocer, Reg the Veg, you’ll often find it at farmer’s markets too. It’s sometimes known as Chioggia beetroot (yes, it comes from the same region of the Italian Veneto as another pink favourite of mine, radicchio). Sadly the stripes do disappear when you cook it, but I still love the peachy-pink colouring especially if you combine it in a dish with traditional and golden beetroot as well.
The raw salad is not my invention, there are plenty of variations on the web, but it is rather special so I thought I’d share it with you. I’d serve this as a side salad with cold chicken or ham or as a simple starter with a sprinkling of goat’s cheese and some delicious rye bread. You could slice some apples equatorially too. I may even invest in a mandolin.
1/2 a small red onion, sliced very finely
2-3 tbsp white wine vinegar, I love moscatel vinegar
4 medium sized beetroot, washed very throughly but skin left on
2-3 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
a few coriander leaves
salt and black pepper
Place the sliced onion in a small bowl and tip over the vinegar, this not only tempers the strong flavour but also helps the onion look turn sugary pink too.
Now slice the beetroot as wafer thin as you can, a mandoline is the ideal tool but a very sharp knife and plenty of patience will do just fine.
Lay the beetroot slices out on a platter. Sprinkle over the onion and the vinegar. Drizzle over the rapeseed oil, toss on the coriander and season well.