“Ooh that was lovely, what was it?” “Beetroot” “Oh, I never liked beetroot…..”
I used to make this recipe with fresh baby beetroot, which is good. But this time I made it with pre-cooked packaged organic beetroot, which has a long life in the fridge when unopened. As they were already soft, the baking made them caramelised and appealing enough to convert a hardened beetroot-disliker.
Baked beetroot, coupled with the melted goats cheese on half a slice of wholewheat toast, served on a bed of rocket, drizzled with a dark balsamic and walnut dressing, and finished off with slightly sweet and spicy walnuts, this is a great combination of flavours. Makes a great starter, but could equally be a light lunch or supper dish. If you wish to avoid bread, then make a bigger pile of salad as the base for the goat’s cheese.
In our region they produce small rounds of goat’s cheese, known locally as Cabecou, but often also sold under the name of Rocamadour, one of the most visited places in all of France. In the Spring, when the grass is lush and the young kids have been weaned, the cabecou are at their freshest and lightest in flavour. Left to mature the cheese becomes denser and stronger flavoured. Eventually it will become a hard cheese, that can be grated like parmesan.
- 200g cooked beetroot, cut into baby beetroot size chunks
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 30g walnut halves or pieces
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 slice wholewheat toast
- 2 cabecou goats cheese
- 100g rocket or baby salad leaves
- 1 tblsp olive oil
- 1/2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tbslp walnut vinegar
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp grainy mustard
- Heat the oven to 200c.
- Mix the honey and cinnamon in a bowl and toss the walnuts in the mixture.
- Put a non-stick silicone sheet or baking parchment on a baking tray, and spread the nuts over.
- Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, until lightly coloured.
- Set aside to cool.
- Put the beetroot on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 - 40 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- Turn off the oven and heat up the grill.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
- Toast the bread and cut in half.
- Put the goats cheese onto a non stick liner or baking parchment on an oven tray and put under the grill for just a minute or two to warm through and melt slightly.
- Put the salad leaves on plates and distribute the beetroot and walnuts.
- Slide the goats cheese onto the toast and put on top of the leaves.
- Drizzle the dressing over.
- Cabecou: If you can't find cabecou, any soft mild goat's cheese could be used.
- Walnut vinegar: is a brilliant ingredient, it brings a wonderful nutty aroma to salad dressings and unlike walnut oil, stores for ages without going rancid. If you can't find walnut vinegar, you could replace the olive oil with walnut oil, otherwise use a sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar.
- Shelled Walnuts: For the best flavour, walnuts should be freshly shelled. Once shelled, they can be frozen, and for a dish like this, could be used without defrosting.