I must admit, I’ve never heard about pesto or hummus until I moved to Ireland. We didn’t grow basil either; our fresh herbs plot at the front of the house consisted of a huge rosemary bush, chives, sarriette (Satureja, softer looking thyme like) and parsley for the tomatoes. What we had though, was a lot of beetroots. Mostly exclusively cooked to hell and served as a simple salad for starter. I can still taste those little cubes in vinaigrette and freshly cut chives. In hindsight, it was completely underrated.
I never boil beetroots anymore, most of the time I grate a raw one with a carrot, olive oil and lemon juice for a salad, or soak the lot with the juice of three oranges. I drink the juice and keep the rest for lunch, with a hard-boiled egg or fresh goat’s cheese.
At least once a week, I roast some wedges of beetroots to accompany the evening dinner with roasted carrots and potatoes. So sweet and Earthy! It gave me an idea, after looking at some beetroot pesto popping up on the web, right, left and centre. I got inspired by the basics of hummus making, which is a clever blend of chick peas, nutty tahini sesame paste, garlic, oil and lemon. The result didn’t disappoint. I served my pesto with some co. Galway Killeen goat’s cheese, egg washed and bread crumbed and simply pan fried for a couple of minutes. But hey, enough already, here is the recipe.
- 1 whole raw beetroot, peeled
- 1 bulb of garlic whole
- 1 heaped tbsp of crunchy peanut butter
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 10 cl of Camelina oil (or rapeseed oil).
Peel and chop the beetroot into pieces and cut the bulb of garlic at the bottom; leave the skin. Place the lot on a oiled baking tray and roast at 200c for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool. Pick the garlic cloves from their envelops; I put all the ingredients in my blender friendly container (a former useless cappuccino frothing jug), and start whizzing. Salt and pepper to taste.
For the goat’s cheese fritter (Killeen is related to the gouda family, you don’t want something too old, 4 to 5 months old is enough). I use a baking ring to cut a nice disc out, but you can also cut some thickish triangles, it would actually make more sense. I dipped the disc (or the triangles) in flour first, then egg wash and then in some bread crumbs. Pan-fry for a couple of minutes on each side. Cut a thick slice of brown bread (I used traditional soda bread in this case) a rich dollop of beetroot pesto and gently place the fritter on top. Et voilá, another great lunch sorted.