Beetroot has become an indispensable vegetable in my kitchen, raw or cooked. I like to use medium to small beetroot – large older beetroots can become a bit too earthy and bitter in flavour for my liking. To make the dressing for this salad you will need a quarter of a cup of beetroot juice. This is best extracted using a juice extractor. If you don't have one, your local juice shop should be able to sell you a small cup of fresh beetroot juice.
2 medium or 1 large beetroot
2 heads of red endive
Beetroot juice dressing
¼ cup beetroot juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 juniper berries, crushed
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp walnut oil
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp creme fraiche
½ tbsp freshly grated horseradish (or substitute ½ tbsp prepared horseradish from a jar)
pinch salt and white pepper to taste
1. Place the whole beetroots in a small saucepan of cold water. Place on a high heat and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook for 15 to 25 minutes or until tender. Test by piercing with a skewer.
2. To make the beetroot juice dressing, take a small stainless steel saucepan, add the beetroot juice, vinegar, juniper berries and sugar and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for a few minutes or until the beetroot juice is reduced to 2 tablespoons of liquid. Strain the beetroot juice and transfer to a small bowl. Add the grapeseed oil and walnut oil, season with a little salt and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.
3. To make the horseradish cream, whisk together the mayonnaise, creme fraiche and horseradish, season with a little salt and pepper. Reserve the horseradish cream in the fridge until ready to serve. Cut the base of the endive from the bunch and remove all the individual leaves. Wash the leaves in cold water, dry in a salad spinner, then pat dry with a clean tea towel and place in a small bowl.
4. When the beetroot is cooked, remove from the water and cool on a plate for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Peel and slice the beetroot into 1-centimetre discs or wedges. Arrange the beetroot pieces on a plate and season with a little salt and black pepper.
5. Spoon the horseradish cream over the beetroot. Dress the endive leaves with 1 tablespoon of the beetroot juice dressing. Stack the endive pieces on the beetroot and drizzle the remaining beetroot dressing over the leaves. Serve immediately.
Serve as a standalone entree or an accompaniment to a few slices of smoked or baked salmon.
If you like this recipe, try Andrew's roasted jerusalem artichokes with comte cheese custard.
Tip: Many heirloom beetroot varieties such as golden or chioggia (candy stripe) bring colour and in some cases a subtle and almost sweet flavour.