The humble beet is the latest recipient of the salt-baked craze. The ruby-red baubles that emerge from this cooking process are the most intensely fruity, earthy beetroot ever. Serve as a vegetable first course, or to accompany roast lamb. They shouldn't taste too salty, but if they do, rub the skins off and discard before serving. Serve with balsamic vinegar, horseradish cream or crumbled goat's cheese and watercress.
200g coarse sea salt
200g fine salt
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
250g plain flour
2 rosemary sprigs, de-stalked
6 medium beetroot
extra virgin olive oil to serve
1. To make the salt crust, place the two salts, egg whites, flour, rosemary leaves and most of the water in a food processor and whiz until combined. Add the remaining water until the mixture forms a firm dough that isn't too sticky. Tip out the dough and squish together into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for two hours.
2. Heat the oven to 170C. Scrub the beetroot and closely trim, but do not peel.
3. Roll out the dough on a bench and cut into six pieces. Place a beetroot on top of each one, and press the dough up and over each beetroot until completely sealed.
4. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, then crack open the crust, brush the beetroot with olive oil and serve.