Beetroot & Avocado Salad
You need half a beetroot and half a ripe avocado per person.
Beetroot is this year's favorite ingredient at many fancy restaurants and it is easy to see why - it is cheap, easy to prepare, and the deep ruby red color looks gorgeous, paired for instance with a simply prepared slice of salmon, or with green avocado in one of my current favorite starters.
Begin by preparing the beetroot. It is traditional to boil beetroot but I prefer it baked in the oven. Wrap the beetroots individually in aluminum foil and bake at 180°C / 360°F for about an hour until the beets are cooked through. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into cubes.
I make two different versions of this salad. In the simple version, marinade the warm beets for a short time in red wine vinegar and a little olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm (better I think) or at room temperature with slices of ripe avocado round about. The avocado can be marinaded briefly with salt and a little lemon or lime juice and perhaps a few drops of olive oil. Or with a mixture of lime juice, a little rum to taste and some finely cut red chili for a caribbean touch.
The spicier, slightly more complicated version of this salad requires a spicy sauce made of: 1 red chili, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of tamarind paste (from oriental food shops) moistened with either a couple of tablespoons of Chinese rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar. Whizz in the liquidizer, add cider vinegar to taste and marinade the beetroot in the sauce. Serve as in the first version except that this time the beetroot is better cold. Easy alternative sauce: mix Worcester sauce with a little tabasco or chili.