I adore beetroot in all its guises: raw, roasted, cubed, grated, in soup and in salads. This is a beautiful salad that is served warm, either on its own or as a partner to some simply grilled Polish sausage, kiełbasa. I love the contrast of colour that the candy-striped and golden beetroots bring to this salad, but if you can only find one type, don’t worry too much. If you would like to use pre-cooked beetroot, do so, but don’t use pickled beets. Despite its name, buckwheat isn’t related to wheat, but is related to sorrel and rhubarb. If you look very closely at buckwheat as a raw grain, you’ll notice it is heart-shaped. You may find toasted or roasted buckwheat (known as kasha in the US) as well as plain buckwheat; both work well in this salad. You can also experiment with other types of kasza, such as cracked pearl barley (kasza je˛czmienna).
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 6 raw beetroots, preferably candy-striped and golden
- 1 lb (450 g) asparagus, stalks trimmed
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 grated lemon zest
- 3½ oz 2/3 cup (100 g) buckwheat (kasza gryczana)
- 9 fl oz 1 cup (250 ml) vegetable stock
- 1 1 green apple
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, preferably cold-pressed organic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Wash the beetroots and wrap each one in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. (If you are using pre-cooked beetroots, quarter them and roast in the oven for just 10 minutes.) Once cooked, set the beetroots aside to cool completely.
- Arrange the asparagus on a separate baking sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle over the lemon zest, and roast for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, rinse the buckwheat in cold water, drain and put it into a saucepan with a lid. Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil over a high heat, reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to stand until all the liquid has been absorbed. Tip the buckwheat into a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.
- Once the whole beetroots are cool enough to handle, and wearing rubber gloves to avoid pink hands, gently rub the beetroot skin until it comes away (I usually do this under warm running water). Cut into quarters and arrange on a plate with the asparagus and buckwheat. Finely slice the apple and scatter over the top. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and serve.