Mostly we boil beetroot and serve it very plain as part of a salad, with or without a splash of vinegar. In the past I made a delicious recipe where cooked chopped raw beetroot was used as part of a beef stew (lovely – must find that recipe and do it again!). I have also seen it used, grated, as an ingredient in a very interestingly coloured cake. However, we rarely serve beetroot raw so I was intrigued by this simple grated and marinaded dish. I did adapt it a bit, using Cumin powder rather than seed, (the seed I had in the cupboard was rather old and only fit for the bin!), spring onion instead of shallots and Balsamic Vinegar in place of Sherry Vinegar. In the end the result was so good that I made another batch the following day.
This recipe comes from Tarte Tatin by Susan Loomis, one of two books she has written about life and food in Normandy, both including recipes. I read this book whilst on holiday in France, travelling through Normandy near to Loomis’ home. I knew just had to try this recipe on our return from holiday. It seemed – and was – so easy! Susan Loomis recommends serving small portions garnished with a strong flavoured salad leaf such as Rocket (Argula) as it has a pronounced flavour. I think would make a wonderful addition as part of a mixed starter of French style crudités.
Raw Beetroot Salad
(Salade de Betteraves Crues)
1tsp sherry vinegar (I used Balsamic vinegar)
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2tbsp olive oil, extra virgin if available
¼tsp cumin seed (about half of this quantity if using powder)
2 spring onions, just the white part, finely sliced (or 1 small shallot)
4 medium beetroot, trimmed, peeled and finely grated
Mixed green salad leaves to serve, preferably including Rocket (Argula) or parsley
1. Combine the vinegar with the salt and pepper and gradually mix in the olive oil. It will thicken slightly. Check and adjust seasoning to taste.
2. Stir in the cumin and onion.
3. Add the beetroot and mix well with the dressing.
4. Leave to marinade for at least 15 minutes before serving.
5. Serve on small plates garnished with the rocket.