from one generation to the next
My Dad always grew a row of beetroot in front of the rampant staked tomatoes in his summer vegetable patch. To maximize yield, they were never pulled until they were about the size of a baseball. Mum would simply boil the beets whole, slip off their skins then cut them into thin rounds. She’d dress the beetroot slices with a sprinkle of sugar before dampening them with malt vinegar, producing a superior version of Aussie canned beetroot slices.
This was at a time when salad for dinner meant shredded iceberg lettuce leaves, slices of tomato and peeled cucumber, slices of the above mentioned beetroot, maybe half a boiled egg, a few slices of tasty cheese and cold cuts of meat all arranged on your dinner plate. Mayonnaise made with condensed milk would be passed separately.
Thankfully in Australia, salad has evolved. Now a dish predominantly made with either raw or cooked vegetables it can be eaten as a complete meal or as an accompaniment. Few ingredients are exempt from doing salad duty. A good salad is seasoned and dressed with complementary flavours to enhance the overall flavour.
A bunch of baby beets (their were 9 in my bunch)
2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
Zest of 1/2 orange
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped dill
1 Trim the leaves off the beets leaving a good 8cm of the stem. If the leaves are young and fresh keep them to make a leafy salad.
2 Put the beets in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil put the lid on the pot, then reduce the heat and simmer until done. Test the largest beet by piercing it with a sharp knife.
3 Drain and cool slightly.
4 Mince the garlic to a paste with the sea salt.
5 Combine the garlic paste, yoghurt, orange zest and dill.
6 Slip the skins off the beets. If you pull the stems off first, the rest of the skin should come off easily.
7 Cut each beet into thin wedges and toss in the yoghurt dressing.
Serves 6 as an accompaniment.