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Salt-baked beetroot with feta & pickled onions

The salt crust really intensifies the natural flavour of the beetroot as it steams in its own juices, seasoning it as it cooks

  • Prep: 30 mins
    Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
    plus 1 1/2 hrs chilling
  • serves 4 as a starter or side
  • More effort
  • serves 4 as a starter or side
  • More effort
  • Calories 277
  • Carbohydrates 16
  • Saturated Fat 5
  • Sugar 13
  • Protein 8
  • Fat 19
  • Fibre 4
  • Salt 1.6

Nutrition per serving

  • Calories 277
  • Carbohydrates 16
  • Saturated Fat 5
  • Sugar 13
  • Protein 8
  • Fat 19
  • Fibre 4
  • Salt 1.6

Ingredients

  • 4 medium beetroot (different types are fine), washed, the leaves trimmed for the salad
  • 6 rosemary sprigs
  • 150g salt
  • 500g plain flour
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 140ml cider vinegar
  • 65g demerara sugar
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 dill sprig
  • 2 onions, sliced into 5mm rings, tossed in a bowl with a pinch of salt to break them down
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp snipped chives
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
  • 30g toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 120g feta

Tip

Beetroot
Look for smooth, firm beetroots with fresh leafy tops. Cut off the leaves and soak them in ice-cold water for 20 mins to rehydrate them. Drain well, wrap in a tea towel and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. The sweet earthy bulbs will keep for 1-2 weeks in a cool dark place, and any smaller pert leaves can be used in salads.

Method

  1. First, make the salt crust. Blitz the rosemary and salt in a food processor, then add the flour and egg whites with 200ml water. Blitz again to bring together. Tip the mixture onto a clean surface and knead for 5 mins to form a smooth ball, then wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hr.

  2. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/ gas 3. Roll the dough out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Put the beetroots in the middle and draw the edges up to form a bag. Bake on a tray for 2 1/2 hrs

  3. Meanwhile, make the pickling liquor for the onions. In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds and 1 tsp salt over a medium heat, and bring to the boil. Add the dill and leave to cool for 30 mins. Strain the mixture onto the onions, and leave for a further 1 hr, then drain. In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients with some seasoning and set aside.

  4. Remove the beetroots from the oven and leave in the salt crust until cool enough to handle. Open the salt crust with your hands and discard. Peel the beetroot, cut into wedges and drizzle with a little rapeseed oil.

  5. Mix the beetroots, onions and beetroot leaves in a large mixing bowl, then add the dressing. Reserving a little of each for decoration, add the chives, apple and hazelnuts, toss well, then tip into a large serving bowl. Crumble the feta over the top with the reserved ingredients, then let everyone help themselves. Best served slightly warm.

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