If You Always Do What You've Always Done...Then You'll Always Get What You Always Got

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Crunchy Raw Beetroot Salad

I received two recipe books for Christmas: Nigelissima and Cook with Jamie.  The first Jamie recipe I made was this Crunchy Raw Beetroot Salad with feta and pear.  Partly because it looks so summery and Christmas-y, and partly because I had 2 beetroots to hand.  I made half quantities, but I'll give the full quantities here, just in case.

4 good-sized beetroots, 'lovely different colours if possible', scrubbed, peeled, and cut into matchsticks
3 ripe pears (or apples - I used Pink Lady apples), peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks
1 x lemon oil dressing (3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper - all shaken up in a jar)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g feta cheese
small bunch of fresh mint, smallest leaves picked
optional: a large handful of sunflower seeds

Dress the beetroot and pear matchsticks in a little of the lemon oil dressing and season with some salt and pepper.  Taste to check that the flavours are balanced and lovely, and add a little more lemon juice to check the sweetness of the pears and beetroots if you need to.
Divide the salad between four plates or put it on a big platter, crumble over the creamy white feta and sprinkle over the baby mint leaves and sunflower seeds if you're using them.  'Simple, but it's a treat and a half'.  Serves 4.  Apparently.

So... I only had 2 beetroots, so I did a half quantity.  On my 4th day in a row of beetroot salad for lunch - still with 3 serves (or so) to go - I decided that was it.  I couldn't face any more beetroot salad after that.  Actually, I don't think the salad itself could have lasted another day, so I didn't feel too bad.  I was tempted to make some weird beetroot bhaji concoction but decided against it, this time.  I imagine this quantity (as in, half - just 2 beetroots) would serve 4-6 as a side dish.

This also took forever.  Forever, as in, an hour.  I can't imagine turning 4 beetroots and 3 pears into matchsticks, at least not if I'm doing it the old-school way with a knife.

I was really glad I used a large ceramic salad bowl.  I anticipated the beetroots filling maybe a third - I was wrong.  At least two thirds full, before the apples made it in.  This photo doesn't show it, nor does it show the shock and worry on my face.  Yes, I washed my hands thoroughly, and I wore an apron.  Go me.

For all that, though - Jamie totally gets the flavours right.  Sweet, salty, crisp, crumbly - everything balances beautifully.  Which means that I am turning this over in my brain, looking for another, less long-lasting, less-time consuming, method of getting these flavours together again.

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