My sister Lisa has the same love for beetroot as I do and her husband enjoys growing vegetables with their three children. Beetroot is something that does well for them, so they are always looking for new ways to use it in the kitchen. This baked beetroot salad recipe is typical of their style: simple, fresh and designed to show off the vegetables to their best. Toasting the hazelnuts will give a more intense flavour; leaving them raw gives a fresher taste.
PREP TIME 15 minutes
COOK TIME 35 minutes
500g (about 6) raw beetroot, peeled and cut into wedges
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400g fine green beans, trimmed
120g goat’s cheese (ideally cylinder shaped), thinly sliced
50g toasted, skinned hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
small handful baby mint leaves
sea salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. In a bowl, toss the beetroot in 1 tablespoon each of the oil and vinegar then season with salt and pepper. Spread the beetroot over the bottom of an ovenproof dish or small roasting tin, cover tightly with aluminium foil then roast for 30 minutes, or until almost tender.
2. While the beetroot is cooking, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the green beans and cook for no more than a minute or two until only just tender. Drain, then add to the beetroot and continue to roast for another 5 minutes.
3. While the vegetables are roasting, make the dressing by whisking the remaining oil and vinegar together with some seasoning, to taste. Put the rocket in a bowl and coat with a little of the dressing.
4. To assemble the baked beetroot salad, arrange the rocket over a large serving platter then scatter the roasted vegetables, goat’s cheese and hazelnuts on top. Drizzle over the remaining dressing and sprinkle over the mint leaves and a few sea salt flakes.
I like to cultivate ‘wild rocket’ which has smaller, more deeply cut leaves and a stronger peppery taste than other varieties. I also find it slower to run to seed than the larger-leaved versions.
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