Beetroot Salad with Sour Cream Dressing

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Last night I made soufflé. It was my first time and I followed Julia Child’s recipe for an egg-whites-only cheese version (Gruyere): there were c. 25 to use up from mass ice cream / set orange custard cooking last week – I nixed 7 in this session.

Child refers to her soufflé recipe as ‘light’ on account of the lack of yolks – and one almost believes her – until reading that the béchamel into which one folds whisked egg whites is made with ¼ pint cream, not milk. The puffy, delicate texture of the finished item did at least create the impression of levity in the eating.

As a side dish I made this salad, which was popular, even with my  beetroot-avoiding father. My brother Henry called it a ‘Becca classic’, whatever that means – I guess I could do worse than be epitomised by a cold beetroot salad..

Now that the basic soufflé principles have been learned form Child, I am excited about making more – Margaret Costa’s ‘Four Seasons’, has some promising recipes.

Ingredients:

Roasting the Beets:

4 smallish beetroots

2 bay leaves, halved (optional, thyme also great)

1 teaspoon, dried sage (optional)

1 garlic clove, cut into 4 chunks (optional)

½ tablespoon, cider vinegar

Vinaigrette:

½ tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ very finely chopped shallot (or small spring onion)

1 tablespoon, chopped parsley

salt and pepper

Garnish

a handful of chopped walnuts

a few pitted black olives – the Greek type

a few radishes, sliced finely (optional)

Dressing:

1 tablespoon, sour cream

1 tablespoon, mayonnaise

1 tablespoon, chopped parsley

½ tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon, red wine vinegar

salt and pepper

How to make:

Wrap each beetroot in foil with a piece of garlic, a piece of bay leaf, a sprinkle of sage, a few drips of cider vinegar and olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 1 hour, then peel by rubbing off the skin – under a cold tap if you don’t have time to let them cool first.

Cube the cooked beetroot and toss in the vinaigrette/shallot mix.

Set aside until you want to serve.

Immediately before serving, arrange the garnish on top and then drizzle with sour cream dressing. If you don’t serve immediately the dressing will turn purple.

Eaten with:

Cheese soufflé, bread and butter, frisée salad. More cheeses. Viognier wine.

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