This Beet, Avo and Pea Salad is one of those salad I have to confess I only tried as I wanted to photograph it. The purple red with the splashes of different hues of green just want to be photographed.
This is another Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty More which is currently one of my favourite books to page through. He mentions in the recipe that blanching beets is a good alternative to boiling or roasting and I tend to agree. That little bit of a bite adds texture to the sweet vegetable itself and to a salad like this.
As Ottolenghi suggests, prepare everything in advance and then combine it all when you are ready to serve. Keep the herbs in the fridge so they do not wilt. I replaced the coriander (cilantro) in the recipe as I did not feel it will work that well with the other ingredients. All in all the recipe calls for about two cups of coriander, pea shoots and mint leaves and I replaced the equivalent quantity with baby spinach, watercress, mint, parsley and rocket.
This salad will be fantastic with a roast chicken, some grilled lamp chops or as a salad with a barbecue. Today is one of those wonderful sunny winter days and the salad will add a whole lot of freshness to the table.
We have some photos from our first two Food Photography Workshops up on Francois’ website. Head over to here and here to view some of the beautiful images he shot on the day. We have been asked to host another day so the third one will be on the 12th of July. We’ve had quite a bit of interest so if you’d like to join us please let me know as soon as you can. More details of the day can be found here.
- 4 (about 400g) medium beets, peeled and cut into paper thin slices
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
- 60ml olive oil, plus extra to dress
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 - 3 tsp chili sauce (optional)
- 2 medium avocados, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cups mixed baby leaves and herbs ie spinach, watercress, mint, rockets and parsley
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, quickly blanched and refreshed
- 1 tsp salt
- black pepper to season
- Boil some water in a pot and add the beets
- Blanch for 3 - 5 minutes until semi cooked but still retaining a bite
- Refresh under cold water, pat dry and transfer to a large bowl
- Add the onion, vinegar, oil, sugar, chili sauce if used, salt and black pepper
- Toss gently, taste the dressing for acidity and seasoning and set aside for 15 minutes
- When ready to server, spread half the beet mixture onto a large plate or shallow bowl
- Top with half the avocado, baby leaves and herbs, and peas
- Add the rest of the beet mixture and arrange the rest of the ingredients on top
- Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve