Beetroot ‘carpaccio’

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This fabulous winter starter may sound a little fancy, bordering on pompous but apart from the original beef carpaccio, beetroot may be one of the few thinly sliced things to come close to be called after the eponymous Venetian painter of beautiful reds, Vittore Carpaccio. His precious vermillion, ruby, intense scarlet & carmine reds made the contemporary of Bellini, Mantengna, Giorgione and the young Titian the proper patron of the famous Harry’s Bar’s classic and maybe even the humble sliced beetroot. Just look at the beautiful burgundy-coloured beetroot slices, Carpaccio would have happily lend his name to this vegetarian version.

I encountered a beetroot carpaccio twice this winter: the first time as a totally forgettable & bland mimicry of the original beef version in a restaurant, the other served recently on a party by my friend Antje, where I only enormous self-control hindered me from scoffing the whole two platters there and then. Gently cooked beetroot is deliciously sweet and its mildly earthy flavour is balanced by creamy, slightly mineral fresh goat’s cheese while walnuts add a nutty crunch as well as a little tannic bitterness. Drizzled either with sour orange juice & a milder oil or on other days with red wine vinegar & olive oil – I still can’t decide which is better and sometimes do both.

Garnishing this artful starter with pomegranate seeds could be considered lily-gilding or just approaching a very healthy ‘Symphony in white and red’, which brings us to Whistler (who was never afraid of some lily-gilding himself).

 

Other great vegetarian winter salads & starters: Brussels sprout salad, Edamame salad, Kale Caesar salad / Grünkohlsalat, cauliflower fritters with spicy carrot & lime salad, Pad Thai-ish noodle slaw, red cabbage & carrot slaw, Indian piced chickpeas, celeriac remoulade, broad been bruschette

 

Beetroot 'carpaccio'


Beetroot ‚carpaccio’ with goat’s cheese & walnuts

Serves as many as you like, use 1-2 beets per person as a starter

Cooked or baked beetroots, cooled
soft goat’s cheese
walnuts
red wine vinegar or orange juice
olive oil, walnut oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil
Fleur de sel & black pepper
pomegranate seeds (optional)

 

Bake beetroots depending on size unpeeled and wrapped in tin foil in a low oven (130-150°C / 275-300° F) for about 2-3 hours or boil likewise unpeeled roots in water for about 1 hour. Leave to cool, put some rubber gloves on and peel. You could also buy really good organic pre-cooked beetroots (unseasoned & unpickled).

Slice the beets into thin rounds and arrange on a plate or platter. Crumble the soft goat’s cheese on top and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Dress with either orange juice & oil or red vine vinegar & olive oil to taste, season with freshly ground black pepper and Fleur de sel. Use pomegranate seeds to finish, if you so like.

 

 

Beetroot 'carpaccio'

 


Rote Bete ‚Carpaccio’ mit Ziegenfrischkäse & Walnüssen

Ich rechne ca. 1-2 rote Beten pro Person

 

Gekochte oder gebackene rote Bete, kalt
Ziegenfrischkäse
Walnüsse
guter Rotweinessig oder Saft von einer Orange
Olivenöl, Walnussöl, Sonnenblumenöl oder Traubenkernöl
Fleur de Sel & schwarzer Pfeffer
Granatapfelkerne (optional)

 

Entweder rote Beten ungeschält in Alufolie wickeln und im Ofen bei niedriger Temperatur (130-150°C) je nach Größe 2-3 Stunden backen oder ebenfalls ungeschält für ca. 1 Stunde in Wasser kochen. Abgekühlt und mit Gummihandschuhen schälen. Gute bereits gekochte Bio rote Beten (vakuumverpackt, ungewürzt und nicht eingelegt) gehen auch.

Ein bis zwei Knollen pro Person in sehr dünne Scheiben schneiden und auf einem Teller oder einer Platte arrangieren. Ziegenkäse darüber krümeln und mit Walnüssen bestreuen. Entweder mit Orangensaft & Sonnenblumenöl oder Rotweinessig & Olivenöl beträufeln und mit Fleur de Sel & frisch gemahlenem schwarzem Pfeffer würzen. Zum Schluß nach Geschmack Granatapfelkerne darüber streuen.

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Beetroot ‘carpaccio’

    • Linda, thank you and I am glad it inspires you, that’s wonderful. I tried to keep it as brief as possible without writing a whole treatise, although the 15th/16th century is a particular interesting period in Venetian Art. And for Whistler, one of my favourites (if in NYC, I recommend the Frick Collection with a fantastic Whistler room). N xx

      • Nicole, my favorite school in painting is the “Impressionist Movement” but I promise if I have the opportunity to go to NYC, I will visit the Whistler room. xx

  1. I think you must be psychic…Was wondering what to do with the 2kg of beetroot delivered in my local farmers veggie box. Looked on your blog and – hey presto! Love the simplicity and the colours! After peeling the beets, I always leave a very Mark Rothko-esque Black in Deep Red looking kitchen. Beetroot=borscht=Russian=Rothko is my mad trail of thought here.
    Great recipe! Jeanette xx

    • Hi Jeanette, happy to be of help, here. Uh, 2kg is something to work on – just red or some chioggia beets, too? I like raw beetroot, very fine julienne in my salad with a sharp mustard vinaigrette, basically lived on that in 2005 and still love it; beautiful thin slices of raw chioggia, salad with fired chanterelles was a great starter a few months ago. Extra points for Rothko, Gotthard Graupner would have meant a knife set! says she, who is cleaning the oven since dawn, #%*’&!!! Nicole xx

  2. Wow what a beautiful carpaccio. I love your description of the deep red color. I hadn’t thought of eating beets like this, although your flavor combination is perfect. I love beef carpaccio. I sometimes eat beets raw too, but I like the addition of the orange juice or vinegar. Good stuff! xo

    • Thanks Amanda, me too, I love beef carpaccio enormously! Imagine my delight as the beet turns out to be a great vegetable for an alternative and I could eat some form of carpaccio everyday without breaking the bank or have the guilt. My husband might find this prospect a bit scary… N xx
      P.S. I think you need a housesitter 😉

  3. I am a fan of carpaccio and this vegetarian version looks so appetizing. I see you are proposing 2 ways to cook the beetroots, have you tried both? Which one you consider tastier?

    • Thank you, NoChef. I have cooked beetroot both ways and can recommend both. I always decide on the preparation depending on what else I am cooking: e.g. if I am baking or braising something, I bake some beetroots alongside the other stuff, otherwise I am not going to heat up the oven for a few beetroots. Baked beetroots have a really intense, earthy & sweet flavour. Carefully boiled ones are fine, too, maybe a little more on the juicy side and less earthy, I only recommend giving them a quick scrub but leaving the skin on. Boil and peel with gloves on later. If you peel them beforehand, all the flavour & colour will leach out and they become quite watery. A third way to instant beetroot carpaccio pleasure is organic pre-cooked beetroot sealed in a vacuum package and sometimes a good alternative, if you can get pretty decent stuff. What’s tastier? Personally, I think the baked ones have a really intense flavour and are slightly sweeter. So, if you are adverse to the traditional beetroot taste go with a baked one, otherwise it just depends on mood and economy. Hope that helps with the decision making and Bon appetit. N xx

      • Thanks for the explanation, I actually never cooked beetroots before that’s why I was asking. Because it take time and it’s messy I avoided it and always bought them precooked. I think I will try this option and when I have the chance will bake some as you suggested, along with other baking that I am doing.

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