Beetroot, apple and feta salad

I’ve never been a huge fan of beetroot. It has a certain ‘earthy’ taste that I rather dislike. However, I recently had the honor of trying out a beetroot-bulgur salad for a new cookbook by Jonge Sla and got stuck with leftover beetroot (the good news: it  stays good for a very long time in the fridge!). My husband is not a big beetroot fan either so on a night alone I remembered a very nice beetroot and apple salad we had at our wedding buffet I looked up some recipes and ended up making a twist on Jeroen Meus’ beetroot salad.  I particularly like cooking the beetroot in red wine and spices, this neutralizes the ‘earthy’ taste. My star anise has decided to disappear from the kitchen, so I used cloves instead, this worked very well (not a big anise fan either here, to be honest. I’m starting to sound like a picky eater but I swear I’m not!). I love the combination of the beetroot, apple and feta – I might be turning into a beetroot convert!

Ingrediënts for 4 servings (as a side dish):
+/- 500 grams beetroot
half a bottle red wine
2 tablespoons red vinegar
1 teaspoon pink pepper, crushed
2 cloves
1 sweet apple (I used Pink Lady)
150 grams feta cheese

Vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
4 teaspoons raspberry vinegar
4 cardamom pods
3 tablespoons good olive oil

How to: Firstly, make sure you wear an apron and use gloves if you don’t want to get red hands: the beetroot gives off a lot of color! Protect ‘stainable’ areas in your kitchen (and the vicinity of your kitchen, if you’re anything like me) Peel the beetroot and cut into large chunks. Put those into a small casserole and add red wine and vinegar. If the beetroot is not entirely covered, add a little bit of water. Add in the pink pepper and cloves, put the casserole on the fire and bring to a boil, let simmer gently for at least 45 minutes, until the beetroot is completely tender.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Mix the mustard, honey and raspberry vinegar in a small bowl. Take the cardamom seeds out of the pods, crush them in a mortar or with the side of a large knife. Add them to the mixture. Beat with a fork or a whisk while pouring in the olive oil, so that it emulsifies.

When the beetroot is tender, take them out of the wine and let them drip and cool down. Cut the beetroot into small dice. Dice the apple and mix with the beetroot in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette – not all of it at once, stop if you’ve got too much. Toss with the beetroot and apple. Crumble the feta and spoon through the salad. Enjoy!

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