Baked multi-coloured beetroots with fresh curd cheese
— 1kg new-season small beetroot – buy a combination of red, golden and candy beetroot, if possible
— 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
— 2 tbsp olive oil
— 1 red chicory, cut lengthways
into thin strips
— 4 large medium-hot red chillies, or to taste, deseeded and chopped
— 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil,
plus more for drizzling
— 4 tbsp fresh goat’s curd or
other soft fresh cheese
— 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in
a dry pan until light golden — beetroot leaves or other red
— crusty bread
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
Trim the leaves off the beetroot, saving any perky ones for the salad. Wash, then put all but two into a roasting pan, leaving them whole with the roots trimmed short.
Add the vinegar and oil to the pan, then toss. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife.
Allow to cool, then scrape off the skins and trim the root and stalk ends. Cut into quarters then arrange in a serving dish with the red-chicory strips.
Peel and finely grate the remaining two beetroots. Put in a bowl with the chilli and extra-virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well then drop spoonfuls in among the roasted beetroot. Add blobs of the goat’s curd, drizzle over a little more extra-virgin olive oil, then throw over the pine nuts with the beetroot leaves or other red leaves. Serve with bread, for mopping up.