I am going to begin with an ambitious statement but I kid you not when I say that this was one of the best salads I have EVER tasted. You may think that I exaggerate but I promise you that I absolutely do not.
I shall begin at the beginning. When I first conceived of this dish, it was not as it turned out in the end. My initial inspiration came from our crop of beetroots begging to be eaten from the vegetable patch.
A recipe for beetroot undersquares had caught my attention in ‘Food Presenting Secrets’ by Cara Hobday & Jo Denbury. The idea was to make a puree and then spread it thinly into a square and then bake to create a thin crisp beetroot square which you could then present a salad on.
What a brilliant idea I thought! And so impressive. So I set about my task with gusto. Unfortunately, it was beyond me and my squares were a total fail. Nice idea, tricky to get right. So I had a little rethink.
I consulted my trusty Flavour Thesaurus and I was intrigued by the idea of putting anchovies with beetroot. And if you know me, you know all about my love affair with the hairy little fish. I knew that this was something I just had to try.
So an idea began to form. Roasted beetroot, soft and sweet. Crispy potatoes for texture. Peppery rocket. Soft, zingy onions. Powerful garlicky black olive tapenade. And of course my beloved anchovies resplendent on the top. Could this work? Might this be a serious salad?
For this AMAZING salad (that I want to eat everyday of my life) I used marinated anchovies…the beautiful white ones, sharp and sweet. Also known as ‘Boquerones’. Their tinned siblings will not do for this dish.
So I suggest you make some time for this serious salad. You won’t regret it….
Warm Beetroot, Potato & Anchovy Salad with Black Olive Tapenade Dressing
(Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as part of a spread)
2 raw beetroot
1 red onion
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
250g new potatoes
1 tbsp of duck fat (or use olive oil)
3 tbsp black olives (I used the Greek type)
1 1/2 tsp of capers, drained
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 good handfuls of rocket leaves
10-12 marinated anchovies
I suggest you wear rubber gloves to peel your beetroot. Once peeled, cut into smallish chunks. Place on a roasting tray drizzle with a little olive oil, season and roast in the oven at 180C Fan /180C for 30-40 minutes. Test that they are cooked by pricking with a skewer which should easily go through.
Slice your red onion thinly and put into a bowl with the red wine vinegar and leave to work it’s magic for 20-30 minutes . It will soften the onion and make it less harsh. Stir them occasionally until needed.
Meanwhile, boil your new potatoes in salted water until cooked through, around 15 minutes. Once they are cooked, slice them into 1/2” rounds. Heat your duck fat or olive oil in a frying pan and fry your potato until golden and crispy on both sides.
Whilst your potatoes are frying and your beetroot are roasting, you can make your black olive tapenade dressing. Take the pips out of the olives and place them in a pestle and mortar. Add the capers and your clove of garlic and pound the whole lot to create a chunky paste. Then stir in the 3 tbsp of olive oil to loosen a little. You will have a thick, chunky dressing.
Time to assemble the salad. In a bowl, combine the potatoes, beetroot and rocket leaves and place them onto a serving dish in one layer.
Then take your onion out of the vinegar and scatter over the salad. Discard the left over vinegar. Lay your anchovies out over the salad and finally, take little dollops of the olive dressing and plop them all around. Divine…
I am entering this (my new favourite) salad into Made With Love Mondays hosted by my friend Mark from Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/Luv as it was made entirely from scratch.
And also into Foodtastic Friday and Friends hosted by Not Your Ordinary Recipes