The possibility of blanching beets could do with some championing to those who always incline toward the hour-long boil or roast: keeping a bite on the purple root adds another layer of texture in a salad. Prepare everything in advance (keep the herbs in the fridge), combine when you’re ready, and serve with something substantial, like Bread and Pumpkin “Fondue”.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the beets. Blanch for 3 to 5 minutes, until semi cooked but still retaining a bite. Refresh under cold water and pat dry before transferring to a large bowl. Add the onion, vinegar, oil, sugar, chile sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. Toss gently and then leave aside for 15 minutes.
- When ready to serve, spread half of the beet mixture on a large platter or shallow bowl. Top with half the avocado, cilantro, mint, pea shoots, and peas. Add the rest of the beet mixture and arrange the remaining ingredients on top. Finish with a drizzle of oil and serve.
Reprinted with permission from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC. Photography credit: Jonathan Lovekin © 2014