Beet (beetroot in the UK) is a hard vegetable for me to work up much of a passion about. It does have some exciting qualities, granted - just touching a peeled beet can dye your hands or clothes a deep pink, as it may well also dye other bodily things - but beets (particularly in their pickled form) have always struck me as a functional foodstuffs, something that would exist in pickled form, stuck in the cupboard next to tins of potatoes and corned beef hash after the armageddon has wiped out all other edible things and mankind has picked all other tasty treats bare. Perhaps that point of view is why I still have a giant jar of pickled beets from my mother-in-law which has been sitting in the back of my cupboard for 2 years now.
Beets come thick and fast in our veg box delivery, and I have become an expert at grating raw beet to include into salads (it's particularly nice with grated carrot or, as my mother-in-law recently enthused to me, with grated apple, lime juice, and ginger). But other than grating it, serving it up as borscht, or turning it into apocalypse-defying pickled beets, I find it hard to see my way to finding new uses for all those beets that keep being delivered to me.
Mr A&N - and our Moro East cookbook - came up with an answer to the beet problem with a recipe for a beetroot salad with pistachio sauce that took the shortest time to put together. It was the pistachio sauce that helped bring the dish alive, pinging in mint and parsley between the citrusy lemon and orange blossom water. There are another 4 or 5 beet-based recipes in Moro East, and I don't doubt there might be need to find more inspiration in the future. The (un-grated, un-borschted, un-pickeld) beet lives to fight another day.
Beetroot Salad with Pistachio Sauce, from Moro East
500g young beetroot, peeled and thinly sliced
- small handful of flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
For the pistachio sauce:
- 100g shelled, unsalted pistachios
- 2 Tbs finely chopped fresh-leaf parsley
- 1 small palm-full finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 dessertspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 7 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 4 Tbs water
- 1/2 tsp orange blossom water
- Make the pistachio sauce first: finely chop the pistachios either by hand or in a food processor. Mix all the other ingredients together, and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss together the beetroot and parsley leaves, then dress with the lemon juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Spread the beetroot out on a platter, then spoon the pistachio sauce on top.
- Serve immediately.