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Heirloom Beetroot

Rockin’ the beets

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With an abundance of beetroot being harvested from his patch, JUSTIN RUSSELL shares a favourite recipe - roasted beetroot salad.

Beetroot. To some people it’s a humble vegetable that is only worthy of being pickled in a can, but that’s not how I see it. In my view beetroot is the king of all the root vegetables. I love it’s intensity of colour and flavour, and at this time of the year my household is harvesting it by the bucketload.

It’s just as well then, that we’ve found some creative ways to use the roots in the kitchen. My wife Kylie likes to make beetroot and chocolate brownies, which I must admit, are sweet, moist and absolutely delicious. My preference, though, is for roasted beetroot.

The root’s earthy flavours go really well with game meats, and of course citrus (especially orange) is a traditional accompaniment. By I find it hard to resist a roasted beetroot salad.

Simply peel and quarter some smallish roots (between tennis ball size and golf ball size is perfect), whack them in a roasting tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and for extra caramelisation, dust over some brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper, and throw in some woody herbs for extra flavour – rosemary and thyme are good.

Cover the tray with foil and roast the beetroot for about an hour at 180 degrees. Remove the foil and roast for another 30 minutes to caramelise and become tender. Allow to cool, then scatter among mixed salad leaves with some creamy goat’s cheese (or feta), lightly toasted walnuts, and a tablespoon of orange zest. Dress with a citrusy vinaigrette, and then do your very best to hold yourself back!