Beautiful beetroot: where to find it and how to cook it

JP McMahon: This dish works well on its own or with other dishes such as couscous or spinach

JP McMahon: ‘My favourite way of preparing beetroot is to simmer it in salted water and then peel and dice it in preparation for frying.’ Photograph: iStock

JP McMahon: ‘My favourite way of preparing beetroot is to simmer it in salted water and then peel and dice it in preparation for frying.’ Photograph: iStock

 

In my desire to make a difference, no matter how small, I’m trying to create more vegetables dishes in my daily life and in my restaurants. That is not to say I’m forgoing my love of fish or wild food, specifically venison and wild duck (or even the odd tartare).

Game season is just around the corner and wild game is a real seasonal treat. However, an increase in plant-based food (of which seaweed is one) is listed as number four in the top 100 ways to reduce our carbon emissions according to the book, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming (2017).

While the jury is still out on whether local beef or an avocado from Mexico is better for the environment (refrigeration occupies the number one spot for the production of carbon), the same cannot be argued about Irish vegetables, specifically the organic kind, and we should be cooking and eating more of them.

Beechlawn Farm, based in Ballinasloe Co Galway, are one of one the many farmers we work with and they produce and import a great range of organic vegetables.

They do the most wonderful beetroot, which is a great staple in all our restaurants. Recently I saw a wonderful beetroot and smoked bone marrow tarte tatin on Instagram by Irish chef Patrick Powell for his restaurant Allegra. It was a side dish for steak from an ex-dairy cow (another great way of reducing our national herd).

How to cook beetroot: My favourite way of preparing beetroot is to simmer it in salted water and then peel and dice it in preparation for frying. After you diced the beetroot in cubes, heat some oil in a frying pan. Add the beetroot when the oil is smoking and fry briefly. Then add a small handful of pine nuts and sultanas and a good splash of Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar. Let the vinegar boil down until syrupy and then add some chopped parsley and sea salt.

This beetroot dish works well on its own or with other dishes such as couscous or spinach.

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