Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beetroot, Orange and Feta Salad – charmed I’m sure!

Pin It Great recipes are like great stories. To keep them fresh and alive, each recipient must keep the essential ingredients and add some embellishments of their own.

My good friend Lorraine (poet, playwright, novelist and general all round funny girl) throws together an amazing beetroot salad. Could I steal it for my blog, I asked. Sure! She in turn had robbed it from her sister, who had gotten it from someone else, and so on. For me to make a beetroot salad is a big step, given how much I absolutely loathed it for years. If you are in the "loathe" camp, I urge you to try it again. You may surprise yourself.

Simply delicious!

It couldn’t be simpler. Shake some rocket leaves (arugula) onto a plate, add beetroot, orange and goats cheese. Et voila! - a dish full of rustic charm and bursting with flavour, without the kitchen staff breaking a sweat.

Except... my rustic charm gene had turned itself off the day I decided to make this salad. When I went to assemble the ingredients, the result was tasty but looked like a dog’s dinner. The more I tried to fix it, the more it fought back.
I refused to be beaten by beetroot! If it would not be bullied into submission, then I would just have to charm it onto the plate. How to charm it? Just add flowers.
Beetroot, Orange and Feta salad - greater than the sum of its parts

For each serving you will need...

1 beetroot, cooked and peeled
5 orange segments, pith removed
25g feta cheese, roughly crumbled
a selection of salad leaves, including some flat leafed parsley

As well as these essential ingredients, I added the following embellishments:

a tablespoon of fresh rocket flowers(arugula flowers)*
a teaspoon of fresh lavender flowers, unsprayed, organic

Beetroot tends to stain!
1                 Thinly slice the beetroot (a mandolin slicer is best for this job – mind fingers!) Place the beetroot slices on absorbent kitchen paper to blot up any excess juices. I used heart shaped cutters to stamp out pretty shapes for this salad.

2                 Arrange the beetroot in the centre of the plate. Arrange the other ingredients to please your eye. It is as simple as that (most days).
This salad needs no salt as the already salty Feta acts as a seasoning. You could add some vinaigrette to the leaves for an extra layer of flavour.

* I ended up with rocket flowers because I turned my back for a moment and my rocket plants went to seed. The flowers taste just like the leaves. If you are not a careless gardener like me, and don't have an accidental supply of rocket flowers, you could use other edible flowers like nasturtium, or borage as suggested by Mona of Wise Words.
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