NZ Woman's Weekly

Simon Gault: Beetroot

The beauty of beetroot is you can pretty much pair it with anything! It’s a delicious addition to salads and a great way to give them bulk, while also adding to the nutritional value.

Try a salad of cooked barley, grated beetroot and raisins – just add a bit of orange juice, olive oil, a touch of balsamic vinegar and toss together. Spelt or pumpkin seeds would be fantastic in there too.

Beetroot is delicious cooked and served with feta cheese and balsamic vinegar. My dad’s famous beetroot tarts are the perfect blend of these three flavours. Here’s the recipe for you to try at home!

Beetroot Tarts

Serves 6

These are made similar to tarte Tatin, but are savoury instead of sweet. You’ll need 10cm-diameter frying pans as they go straight from the stove into the oven. The secret is the addition of caramelised balsamic vinegar. Paired with feta cheese and my favourite pine nuts from Blenheim, it is a divine combination.

  • 6 prepared beetroots, cooked, peeled and each cut into 6 (See “Beetroot preparation”)
  • 9 canned cipollini onions in balsamic vinegar, sliced in half
  • 180ml cipollini onion juice
  • 6 x 10cm puff pastry rounds
  • Flour for dusting
  • 130g soft feta
  • 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 12 pea tendrils

Beetroot preparation

  • 6 baby beetroots (3 red and 3 gold)
  • 100ml caramelised balsamic vinegar (I used Pukara Estate)
  1. Wash the beetroot and trim the roots and tops. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold, salted water. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain, cover with fresh cold water and leave to cool.
  2. When cool, rub the skins off while submerged under water. Slice each into 6 wedges and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180oC. In each 10cm-diameter pan, place 3 onion halves, 30ml onion juice, and 3 red and 3 gold pieces of beetroot. Bring to the boil over a moderate heat and simmer to reduce the liquid by half. Remove from heat.
  4. Place a pastry round on top of the mixture in each pan and, using a teaspoon lightly dusted in flour, pat the sides down around the edges.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn out onto serving plates.
  6. Garnish each tart with 1½ tablespoons of feta, a sprinkle of pine nuts and 2 pea tendrils.
Simon Gault

Beetroot is delicious cooked and served with feta cheese and balsamic vinegar.

Ken says:

Ken Nicoll of Total Garden Care keeps Simon’s garden in order.

“Although the weather is much cooler now, it’s still a busy time in Simon’s garden as we get things established before the soil gets too cold. I have put in some more beetroot seed to get us through the winter, as well as the radishes, which are still in hot demand! Now it’s on to getting some broad beans in – they will be ready in the spring. Don’t forget to save a long-term spot for some garlic too. They will need to be in the ground soon enough to get a patch chilling over winter.”

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