Beetroot is a feel-good vegetable, apparently. It contains a chemical also found in chocolate, producing a sense of well-being. So when I saw Beetroot and Soft Cheese paired together in my ‘Flavour Thesaurus’, I had to make it.
The Flavour Thesaurus is one of my favourite food books. You’ve got to love any book that suggests pairing white chocolate and olive.
So I got brainstorming. How do I do this? With cream cheese? Goat’s cheese? As a salad? Starter? Side dish? Roasted? Baked? Sliced? Cubed?
Then, as per usual, I used what I had to hand.
But that is what practical, simple cooking is all about. Making a special effort on occassion is wonderful, but making clever use of what is already available is what convenient cooking is all about.
So, here’s how to transform some bread, beetroot and feta into something a little special.
Crunchy Crostini with Feta, Fennel and Beetroot (serves 1)
1 crusty baton-shaped bread roll, or half a baguette
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Greek feta cheese
2-3 sprigs of fresh fennel
1. Halve the bread lengthways and lightly toast under the grill. Meanwhile, chop the beetroot into chunks and mix with a glug of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Finely chop half of the fennel and mix.
2. Remove the bread from the grill. Spread the beetroot mixture over the bread. Crumble the feta cheese on top (tip: use more feta than I did, it will taste better!). Put back under the grill under a medium heat for about 3 minutes.
3. When the sides of the crostini are golden brown, remove from the grill. Drizzle with a little honey and garnish with the remaining fennel sprigs.
You can… use mint instead of fennel (but go easy), or goat’s cheese instead of feta.
How do you turn ordinary food (like bread) into something a little special – a little extra pepper, a sprig of parsley? Or do you go all-out?