Monday, 8 August 2011
Beetroot and Mint Dip
I think some people are afraid of the intense colour of dishes made with beetroot. Borscht (traditional Russian beetroot soup) never sold in the last cafe I worked in.
And I've seen full bowls of beetroot dip sit on tables surrounded by empty hummus bowls and denuded cheese platters. The beetroot dip is so often ignored, even with
left over corn chips and basket of torn up baguette ready to be eaten, it can still sit there untouched. I think it's a trust thing. Maybe people have had bad experiences with beetroot. I know I have. Serving me beetroot from a tin was the biggest food crime my parents ever committed. It killed beetroot for me for years.
Until a good friend and life-long buddy, Fern, said to me, as we sat outside our favourite haunt Supertime Blues, Byron Bay's most famous cafe back in the good ol' days, 'It's not like tinned beetroot, Anthea, I promise, just try it!" She was hungover, with a mouth full of tofu burger, freshly grated beetroot in her teeth. "Just try it, for God's sake. I know you are going to like it, it's just like carrot but red!".
I picked a few straws from inside her burger and was shocked. I really liked it. It was nothing like vinegary and bland tinned beetroot. I've never turned back. I much prefer beetroot to carrot in a burger. I love it grated with anything, especially lime. And a good borscht can be amazing if you are game to try it. If you are game to face the passion and intensity of anything beetroot-coloured.
But I have to confess that I still don't really like it cooked whole. I find 'roast' beetroot in most cafe tastes boiled or poached. Yuck. I roast mine in balsamic vinegar, salt and olive oil, and maybe I'll eat it, just maybe.
Anyway, this dip, you're going to love! Trust me. I'm fussy. I've said it. It's out there now.
3/4 cup cashews, soaked in 1/4 cup of water for 10 minutes
2x beetroots, medium size, grated (approx 2 cups)
1/2 bunch fresh mint
1/4 cup lime (or lemon) juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp good salt
3 dsp tamari
I soak my cashews in a blender with the 1/4 cup of water firstly (saves on washing up).
While they are soaking I get all the ingredients together, grate the beetroot, juice the lemon etc. Blend the mint and cashews together with the soaking water first. Blend until it is smoothy and creamy. Then add the remaining ingredients and blend until really velvety and 'dippy'.
Pour into your favourite bowl and garnish with a sprigs of mint, a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of black or white sesame seeds or cracked pepper.
Serve it with your favourite crackers, crudite or crusty bread. It's also fantastic on toast. I love it with the olive and thyme bread I buy locally. Yum, yum.