Watercress & Beetroot Salad

Watercress & Beetroot Salad


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October is a time when watercress and beetroot enjoy a very narrow window of being in season at the same time. Watercress is coming to a natural close, and beetroot (beets for the N American readers) is in it’s prime at the moment. I love the pepperiness of the watercress and how it makes a fantastic alternative to the ever popular rocket (arugula). Beetroot in its’ many guises has that lovely earth flavour that when roasted on the BBQ takes on an extra layer of smokiness. Combining a delicate leaf with a robust root vegetable is the perfect combination to reflect how at this time of year it feels like there’s still one foot in the summer and one in Autumn.

As well as being seasonally inspired this recipe is from the US food website Williams Sanoma. I wanted to show how any recipe can be prepared on the BBQ and this recipe is so easy to prepare in advance and store separate in the in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. If you haven’t had to joy of peeling beetroot before you’ll soon find out exactly why it’s been used for centuries to die fabrics!! You have been warned 😉

Ingredients

  • 750g assorted beetroots (I have used candy, golden and classic ruby for this recipe)
  • 2 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 6 – 8 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 100g watercress, washed

Method

  1. Preheat the BBQ for 180-200c / 350-375f roasting /indirect heat with the lid down and vents open as applicable.
  2. Wash the beetroot to remove any excess soil. Dry and tumble on a large bowl with 2 tbsp of cold-pressed rapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the beetroots on the grate over the area of roasting / indirect heat and close the lid. I cooked these beetroots on my Traeger Pro22 with apple wood pellets. If you are cooking on gas or charcoal simply soak apple wood chips and add them to your grill and reference my Beginners Guide to Smoking on your BBQ if you haven’t done this before.
  4. Depending on size roast for 40-50 minutes or until they feel soft when tested with the tip of a small paring knife. Remove to a tray and allow to cool.
  5. Bring a pan of water to the boil then add the eggs. For soft eggs boil for 5 minutes, or 8 minutes if you like your eggs slightly more done. Drain the eggs, return to the pan and fill with cold water. Leave in the water until they have cooled then peel.
  6. Once the beetroots have cooled top and tail using a small knife and peel the outer skin. Cut some into quarters, eighths and slices to add a dimension of interest to the salad.
  7. In a large bowl whisk together the remaining oil, vinegar, orange juice, zest and 1/2 tsp salt and whisk to make the dressing. Pour half of the dressing over the beetroots and stir to coat. In another large bowl toss the watercress in the remaining dressing.
  8. Add the beetroot pieces to the watercress, quickly toss together before grabbing a large handful and transferring to a serving plate. Dot with the eggs that have been quartered, grind a little extra pepper and serve immediately.

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