Last weekend both Jason and Fresh Gardens had great looking freshly picked beetroot. I couldn’t help buying some. As I do every week, because it’s so good, I bought peppery rocket from Fresh Gardens. I had an abundance of shelled walnuts from Wilson (Vanilla Man) and Valda (NZ Nuts) and plenty of parsley in my garden. The extra virgin olive oil came from Barry at River Estate. I roasted the beetroot but you could boil them instead.
A few fresh beetroot
1 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1½-2 cups roughly chopped parsley or rocket or a mix of both
About ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Roast the beetroot in a moderate oven until it softens. Depending on the size, this could take between 1 and 2 hours. The beetroot don’t have to be completely soft. Once cooked let them cool a little then peel and cut into cubes or wedges.
Make the pesto while the beetroot is cooking. Reserve a few of the walnuts as a garnish then blend the rest of the ingredients. Start with a bit less than ½ cup of olive oil and add more as you think necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning. This makes about a cup of pesto.
To assemble the salad put the beetroot in a bowl and mix in some of the pesto. Then garnish with the rest of the toasted walnut pieces and a little more pesto on top. Cover the rest of the pesto and keep it in the fridge. It’s also great tossed through Cesare’s delicious spinach ravioli.