You know that scene in Forrest Gump where Forrest is drawling on about Jenny and him going together like peas and carrots? Well, that’s how I feel about beetroot and horseradish. They’re just destined to be together.
Often, store-bought chrain (a bitey horseradish cream / paste) will come pre-loaded with beetroot – for colour more-so than flavour, but here, the beetroot takes centre-stage, with fresh-grated horseradish buzzing through the cream and garnish.
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
For the Horseradish Cream
1 tbsp fresh horseradish (or jarred, if need be)
200g creme fraiche
1 tsp nice vinegar (I love chardonnay vinegar for fancy flavouring)
1 heaped tbsp pure cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
For the Salad
2 bunches baby beets, including the smaller leaves, washed and soaked in cold water for at least an hour
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt flakes and pepper
1/2 bunch of Dill, soaked in cold water, fronds picked.
Cucamelons & Borage flowers (optional)
Fresh horseradish, grated (if available)
Heat oven to 180C
Trim the leaves off the baby beets leaving 5cms of cleaned stem attached. Reserve the smaller beet leaves to use in the salad.
Place beets on a bed of a couple of sheets of foil. Drizzle over some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap beet parcel up tightly and place in oven for 2 hours, then leave to cool without opening.
Once cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and place on a serving plate
Scatter over the reserved leaves, dill fronds, cucamelons (if using) and borage flowers, drizzle with some extra olive oil, salt flakes, pepper and a fresh grating of horseradish. Serve with dollops of horseradish cream.
Horseradish is quite seasonal, so if you can’t find any fresh stuff around, use the best quality jar you can find – the less ingredients, the better. You could also sub in fresh wasabi if that’s more readily available, or even mix wasabi paste into your cream instead (remember to explain to your guests that the green-tinged cream is intentional!)
Buying baby beets with the leaves still attached is a marker of freshness, indicating that the flavour is going to be at its sweetest. If you can’t find baby beets in their entirety, use peppery rocket leaves for extra green stuff instead. Remember to use only the smaller leaves in your salad, saving the large ones to put through the juicer or into a pot of soup.