Beetroot is such a lovely vegetable and is in season all year round so a recipe like this can really come in handy when there may not be a whole lot of other in-season vegetables available. Beetroot and feta go so well together but I made up a dressing of aged balsamic vinegar and black garlic that goes perfectly with both. Black garlic is definitely expensive, at €6 per head, but totally worth it. The garlic undergoes a lengthy process where it is “roasted” at a really low heat for months which causes a kind of caramelisation. The result is soft, squidgy, black cloves that have a really sweet, syrupy taste, a bit like balsamic vinegar. I use a beautiful 12 year aged balsamic here which is even more syrupy and thick than regular balsamic but use whatever you can find. I know black garlic and 12 year old aged balsamic vinegar are probably not available at your local supermarket but, here’s something my 21 year old self thought I’d never say: you’d be amazed what you can find at your local farmers market!
I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin but it’s a necessary endurance to derive the seeds. Pumpkin seeds, especially when toasted, pack so much nutty flavour and are delicious when added here. I heard Nigella say once that literature can make stones stonier and that similarly toasting makes nuts nuttier. This is especially true for pumpkin seeds and so they add amazing flavour and texture to this beetroot dish.
- 4-6 medium sized beetroots
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- a pinch of sea salt flakes and some freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cloves of black garlic, peeled
- a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 pinch of sea salt flakes
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 100g feta
- Peel the beetroot and slice them into about 1 centimetre thick slices.
- Lay them on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over the salt and pepper.
- Going the cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar and sprinkle it over the beetroot too. Just use pre-ground if you prefer.
- Transfer the tray to a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees celsius for 35 minutes.
- To make the dressing, mash up the soft black garlic cloves in a pestle and mortar. Add the salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and mash it all up to a consistent dressing.
- Add the pumpkin seeds to a dry frying pan over a high heat for a few minutes until they start to pop.
- Take out the beetroot and allow to cool slightly. It should be served warm, not hot.
- Then transfer to a serving dish, stir up the dressing and drizzle it over the beetroot, sprinkle over the toasted pumpkin seeds, crumble over the feta and serve.