This recipe comes into season in colder months, when beetroots are in season, but can be enjoyed year-round
B eetroots used to appear regularly on our table in Milan during the autumn and winter, as I am sure they still do nowadays. When I was young, vegetables had seasons, and beetroots were one of the few vegetables that could be served in a salad during the winter months. They were often served dressed with oil and vinegar just by themselves or with other cooked vegetables, as in this recipe.
- 3 medium waxy or salad potatoes
- 400g/14oz small round shallots
- 4 medium beetroots (beet), cooked and peeled
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 15–25g/ ½ –1oz/1 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- Wash the potatoes and put them in a pan. Cover with cold water, add 1 tbsp of salt and bring to the boil. Cook until done, but still just firm. Drain and peel as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Set aside to become cold – potatoes become firmer when cold and they don’t break so easily. Cut into small cubes and add to a salad bowl.
- While the potatoes are cooking, wash the shallots under cold water, put them in a pan with 1 tbsp of salt and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook them for about 20 minutes, until just done, depending on size. Drain and then peel them when they are cool enough to handle. It will be quite easy – just squeeze the inside of the shallot and it will pop out leaving the layer of skin between your thumb and finger. Add to the salad bowl.
- Cut the beetroots into cubes the same size as the potatoes and add to the salad bowl.
- Pour the oil into a small bowl and beat in the vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the vegetables and mix gently.
- Sprinkle with the mint.
- Sometimes, if I am in the mood of ‘I like to paint what I eat’, I take a large, round dish rather than a salad bowl, pile the potatoes in the middle surround them with the beetroot and spoon the dressing over the top.