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Roast Beetroot & Crème Fraîche Salad

I've been dying to eat at Cape Town's cult favourite bar and restaurant, Blondie, for months. And I finally did.

Blondie is an uber-hip establishment where cool kids armed with cucamelon vapes feverishly flock to drink wine and be seen. The bar is always well-stocked with Palomas and PYTs, but the restaurant is the real draw - especially for anyone who enjoys fire-roasted meat and veg eaten with the fingers while looking cheerfully on while the queue to get in snakes down Kloof street.

Anyway, it was great. If you ever find yourself in Cape Town and wondering where to grab a bite to eat, I highly recommend grabbing a late lunch here. Things I have sampled and enjoyed include the lamb pita (divinely spiced), grilled lettuce (yes, you read that correctly), and the cured tuna toast (very nice). As for drinks, I can also vouch for the aforementioned Paloma as well as the pear and Grey Goose slushy, which is as luxurious as it sounds.

But of all the dishes I've enjoyed at Blondie, the one I most eagerly replicated at home was the roast beetroot salad with crème fraîche.

Although simple in its construction, the salad is a feast for the eyes and the palate. Rustle it up as an appetiser or a salad to wow guests or, if you're like me, gorge on it for every meal for three days running.

What you'll need from the shops:

  • Beetroot (obvs)

  • Parmesan or a similar hard cheese

  • A lime or a lemon

  • Spring onion

  • Crème fraîche (sour cream or even smooth cream cheese will do in a pinch)

You'll also need trusty olive oil and good, flaky salt for finishing.

How to make your beetroot salad

Step One: Prep your kak

Preheat the oven to about 190 degrees Celcius.

Thinly slice your beetroot bulbs into rounds - the thinner they are, the more delightfully crisp they will get in the oven. You can use a mandolin if you like to risk your fingers with that sort of nonsense.

Zest your citrus fruit and halve it for squeezing later.

Slice your spring onion on the bias for a bit of flair.

Grate your parmesan into lovely, wide ribbons using the side of the grater you never use or a veggie peeler.

Step Two: Roast your beets

Once the oven is nice and hot, drizzle your beet rounds in olive oil and sensually rub them down on both sides. They should be glistening, not wet.

Pssst: I use this Humble and Mash silicone baking mat every time I roast something.

Great, now leave those to roast for about half an hour. If you smell burning, you should check on them. That's what I call common sense.

Step Three: Prepare a lovely bed for the roast beets

Dump the crème fraîche into a bowl and mix through with the juice of your chosen citrus plus zest. Sprinkle in some salt for good measure. Then, slather a thick bed of the cream onto your serving plate. This is the base of the salad.

Next, sprinkle your chopped spring onion over the creamy bed.

Finally, drop the beet(s). When they're done roasting, of course. They should be fairly soft and hopefully a little crispy around the edges. Artfully arrange them in a beautiful circle or something like that. Finish them off with more flaky salt, parmesan shavings, and a final drizzle of olive oil and citrus juice.

If you're eating this as a meal itself, I recommend serving with some toasted ciabatta or crostini. Excellent for smearing the creamy bits on.

See you at Blondie's!


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