beetroot
A salad of raw beetroot, curd & rose

It’s difficult not to be taken in by the look of this fresh, raw salad with its calm class and subtle beauty. However, what’s really lovely is how it tastes. Its sweetness comes from very thinly sliced fresh raw beetroots (the fresher you can get them, the sweeter they’ll be); its fragrance comes from the punch of toasted cracked coriander seeds and orange zest, and the gentle flavour of rosewater and edible rose petals. For its creamy richness, I love using ewe’s curd, but a fresh,
soft goat’s cheese or even a good mascarpone would be fine. 

Serves 
4
Ingredients 

5 or 6 beetroots of mixed colours and all roughly golf-ball sized

juice and zest of 1 orange

1–2 teaspoons rosewater

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

150g (51⁄2oz) ewe’s curd, or soft goat’s cheese, or mascarpone

2 teaspoons small coriander seeds, toasted, then crushed

a scattering of dried, edible rose petals (optional)

salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Method 

Scrub or peel the beetroots depending on the thickness of the skin – if the beetroots are very fresh, you might be able just to give them a good-old scrub. Use a mandoline or a very sharp knife to slice the beetroots into about 1mm (1⁄32in) rounds (certainly no thicker than 2mm/1⁄16in), and place the rounds in a bowl.

In a separate bowl make the dressing by combining the orange juice and zest with the rosewater and olive oil, then finish off with
a pinch of salt and a twist of black pepper. Spoon half the dressing over the beetroot rounds, tumble together using your hands, and allow the salad to rest for 15–20 minutes to soften the beetroot and allow the flavours to marry, mingle and mellow for a while.

To serve, dot large spoonfuls of ewe’s curd (or goat’s cheese or mascarpone) over a serving platter (or spread it in a layer, if you prefer). Scatter over the dressed beetroot, sprinkle over the coriander seeds and the rose petals, if using, and drizzle over

a little more dressing before bringing to the table.