Back in August, A and I spent five hot, busy, exciting days in a terrific little airbnb apartment in the East Village in New York. My friend K, recently permanently in New York and simply one of the best people I know, took us to Westville. It was the day after we arrived, and we were enjoying that part of the early morning when travel excitement is at its richest and jetlag hasn’t set in yet.
Westville is wooden and white and green, airy and bright with plenty of pavement tables, and has an excellent menu that changes with the seasonal availability of fruit and vegetables at local markets. We feasted at brunchtime on mostly summer vegetables – sesame snow peas; roasted beets with fetta and walnuts; sweet potato fries; mushrooms. If vegetables always tasted like that, vegetarianism would be a far more appealling prospect.
With this in the back of my mind, I finally created my own beetroot salad last weekend. Beetroot is one of those vegetables I had an aversion to for the wrong reasons. Anything healthy with such a beautiful colour is worth exploring. As for the salad, it’s splendidly healthy (if you simply think of fetta as adding calcium…) and the almonds add a lovely crunch and toasty flavour.
The recipe below serves 4-ish.
One bunch of baby beetroot (5-8 bulbs)
150g fetta, crumbled
100g slivered almonds
One large floret of broccoli, cut into pieces
Two carrots, peeled into ribbons
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup verjuice
1/4 cup olive oil
To roast the beetroot, cut into small chunks, brush with olive oil, season with pepper and bake in a moderate oven for 70-90 minutes or until moderately soft, but not mushy.
While the beetroot is in the oven, toast the slivered almonds in a baking tray with a light drizzling of olive oil for 5-10 minutes. (Keep an eye on them, so you don’t burn them the first time like I did!)
Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli in boiling water until it is softer, but still a little crunchy. (I think it tastes better that way, especially when eaten cold.)
Then simply combine all ingredients for the salad and the dressing, dress, and serve. So far, A and I have discovered that the salad goes well with poached salmon and with barbecued meat.