It’s hard to be enthusiastic about beetroots when you see them in their whole state in the greengrocer or organic market. They seem like a lot of work but nothing could be further from the truth.
Serves 4 as a starter
8 baby beetroots, tops trimmed but leave them unpeeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sprinkling of Maldon sea salt or other good quality sea salt
1 tablespoon ponzu
1 teaspoon sweet mirin
100g Cashel Blue (or any good soft veiny blue cheese) spread on slices of toasted sourdough bread
1. Place the beetroots on a baking tray. Rub the beetroot bulbs with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake for 30-40 minutes in a preheated oven at 200C/400F/Gas 6. Remove the beetroots when you can pierce them easily with a knife and remove the skin by rubbing them with a piece of kitchen towel. Slice them in quarters and arrange on a serving dish. Mix the ponzu with the sweet mirin and drizzle over the beetroots. Serve with the Cashel Blue toasts.
What is ponzu?
Ponzu is a citrussy soy sauce seasoning used in Asian cooking. It can be quite salty so you need to be careful how much use. If you can’t find ponzu for the recipe above, add a little fresh lemon or lime juice to taste to a tablespoon of light soy sauce. Some versions are made with kombu, a Japanese seaweed and tuna flakes (bonito flakes) so if you are allergic to fish or seafood, you need to check.
A note on cooked beetroot:
When you find small beetroots, roast them using the method above and keep them in the fridge in a covered container where they will keep for a few days. They can be sliced and served with crumbly feta or goat’s cheese and some pesto; cut into cubes and tossed with a balsamic and olive oil dressing and served with roast salmon and little roast potato cubes; or you can blend them with yogurt, fennel seeds and apple juice for a healthy breakfast smoothie (if you are going to use them in a smoothie, don’t season them before baking).