Beetroot, Onion, Pom, Basil & Walnut Salad

By Fongolicious - February 17, 2013

With my Bulla Cream obligations, I've been given a challenge this month to re-create George Calombaris' Beetroot Salad. I have a confession - I do not dig beets. Ever since a little kid - I still can't get over the flavour. Yes, how  "unAustralian" of me! Second confession - I have never cooked fresh beetroot before. So - as much as this is an "ordinary" thing for many of you, this salad is just that little bit out of my comfort zone. But! That's what challenges are about. Challenge accepted!

Now, if you have a look at George's recipe, I personally find it rather involved. After about 2 minutes of digging around online, I've come up with this recipe below. It is a little less involved - but it will still take about 1.5 hours to bake. But since the oven is on, I've tried to make use of it with the other ingredients. Verdict - "really good" according to OG. 

Some tips I learnt while making this, beets stain like nothing else! So I covered my chopping board with cling wrap before peeling the beets, and used disposable kitchen gloves. I didn't use my white crockery but just the stainless steel bowl and glass bowl.

1 to 2 large brown onions, quartered
1 to 2 medium sized beetroots
4 cloves of garlic
Olive oil to coat onions, beetroot, and garlic liberally
2 teaspoons of salt
2 handfuls of walnuts
150ml Sour Cream
2 dozen fresh basil leaves
1 pomegranate, seeded
Few sprigs of chives to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 170C. 

2. Place whole beetroot and onions in a deep baking dish. Splash with olive oil to coat liberally and sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil and roast until skewer passes through easily, approximately 1 & 1/2 hours. 

3. Lightly bruise garlic cloves with the side of the a knife to just crack the skin. Coat with olive oil and place in a small baking dish. After half an hour of the beetroot and onions being in the oven, place garlic in the oven also.

4. Spread walnuts on a flat baking tray. With about 15 minutes left to go for the beetroot and onions, also place walnuts in the oven.

5. When beetroot is cooked, remove all ingredients out of the oven. Allow to cool slightly. 

6. Peel away the skin of the garlic cloves to reveal its soft flesh. Place into the sour cream and stir to mix in. Set aside (if the fridge if it's a warm day).

7. When cool enough to handle, wearing disposable kitchen gloves to peel beetroot skin and cut into small wedges/segments. Place in serving bowl. Using your gloved hand, separate onion into its individual layers and place in serving bowl. Stir to mix beetroot and onions.

8. Stir through fresh basil, the freshly roasted walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds. Serve with sour cream garlic mixture. Garnish with some fresh chives.

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