Beetroot and grape carpaccio with radish, sorrel and orange

Another amazingly versatile vegetable with a really long growing season – beetroot is sweet and earthy and I think I love it the most in June when it’s at its most tender and delicious… Those sweet thin skinned baby early summer ones are the vision and taste of my childhood – but then my parents are the real life Tom and Barbara from The Good Life so I feel that way about a lot of vegetables!
However, beetroot is a rare vegetable that speaks of summer and Christmas to me all at once. It’s a real all rounder and I also really love to eat it in the autumn and into winter – it feels quite festive and it has a robust taste that can hold its own with lots of other strong flavours – which means it can be used in a variety of ways and marries well with a variety of things from sharp, fruity, creamy, rich, nutty and pungent.
It’s unique earthiness and sweetness means it works really well in both savoury and sweet dishes and pairs well with anything from chocolate to salmon! Combinations I really like and are worth trying are:
  • Goats cheese and walnut
  • Blood orange and burrata
  • Dark chocolate and pistachio
  • Parmesan and rocket
  • Horseradish and yogurt
  • Balsamic and thyme
  • Mustard and tarragon
  • Garlic and rosemary
  • Dill and capers
Try them…
Roasted – in foil with woody herbs, garlic and balsamic
Boiled – whole so they don’t loose their colour and tossed into butter and soft herbs
Baked into cakes – most famously with dark chocolate
Juiced – excellent with apple, ginger and turmeric (liver cleansing)
Pickling and curing – in the classic pickle and used to add sweetness and colour to cure salmon with gin
Raw grated and thinly sliced into carpaccio – textural and crunchy with a freshness that matches well with citrus and zesty flavours
Beware colour transfer – the deep purple/red is lovely but can bleed so just think about that when cooking/preparing it; marinate separately to keep the colours intact, don’t peel or cut the root if boiling as the colour will be lost in the water (the skins slip off easily once cooked), equally roast whole wrapped in foil where possible to retain their colour and always roast separately to other veg as the colour will stain anything it shares a pan with
Beetroot and grape carpaccio with radish, sorrel and orange
Mixed beetroots if you can get hold of them – yellow, white, choggia (candy stripe) and red
Black or red grapes
Baby sorrel leaves
Tarragon leaves
Orange zest
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
  • Slice the beetroots very thinly on a mandolin (be very careful always using a guard – or my favoured chainmail glove!)
  • Keep the darkest beets separate in one bowl and dress the slices lightly in olive oil to prevent them from drying out
  • In a separate bowl dress the rest of the beet slices in the same way
  • Slice the grapes and radishes on the mandolin too and set aside
  • Arrange the slices artfully on a wide flat plate with the smallest pieces on top so it looks like a stained glass window
  • Drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and a little more olive oil to moisten it all
  • Scatter with flaky salt and pepper, grate over the orange zest and scatter with the tarragon and sorrel
  • Serve immediately
  • If making ahead, then dress the beetroot with everything apart from the leaves and herbs (which will wilt in the dressing), wrap and and refrigerate and finish with greenery just before serving


Louisa Chapman-Andrews
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