Along with Seville oranges I’m always trying to think of ways to use blood oranges in recipes. This combination of beetroot and blood orange isn’t my idea, but I cannot remember where I came across the combination (maybe you know?). Anyway it’s a good one especially if the oranges are still a bit tart (which is often the case in the UK). You could use ordinary purple beetroot, but I find the way they bleed colour a bit tiresome – combine all the ingredients at the last minute if you do.
4 golden beetroot
3 blood oranges
pinch of cayenne
2 allspice berries, crushed
100g feta, cubed
100g salad leaves such as rocket, watercress or spinach
½ tablespoon lemon thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4. Peel the beetroot with a potato peeler and cut them into chunks. Make a tin foil package with the chunks plus a tablespoon of olive oil to coat them and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or so – how long depends on the size of your chunks – until the vegetables are tender. Once the beets are cooked, let them cool a little and then dice them into smaller pieces. You could start off with small cubes for roasting but I find there’s a greater risk of the vegetables burning.
Slice the onion thinly and sauté in some olive oil along with the cayenne and allspice. Once the onion is soft, mix in the beetroot cubes and then leave the mixture to cool a bit – adding hot beetroot to the oranges causes the latter collapse and not look so pretty.
Use a paring knife to peel the oranges, removing all the pith, and then slice them horizontally. Put the slices in a serving bowl, along with any juice.
Fold in the beetroot and onion mix along with the salad leaves and the feta. Adjust the olive oil and the acidity – you may want to squeeze another orange, or perhaps a bit of lemon over the salad. Sprinkle over the lemon thyme and serve.