BEETROOT, TOMATO AND SPINACH

Beetroot and spinach is a match made in heaven, the earthy flavour of freshly boiled beetroot with sweet-sour tomato works in many ways. Here, the dish begins with onion, softened and flavoured with crushed garlic, chilli and aniseedy caraway. Diced beetroot and peeled, seeded tomato are simmered with the onion then stirred with quickly blanched spinach. It looks fantastic, as you can see. Serve it hot, warm or cold, with simply cooked fish, chicken, eggs or white cheese. It is perfect make-ahead barbecue support food.

Serves 4

Prep: 30 min

Cook: 35 min

1 onion

1 tbsp olive oil

600g vine tomatoes

250g boiled beetroot

200g young spinach

2 garlic cloves

¼ (quarter tsp caraway seed

¼ (quarter) tsp crushed chilli flakes

     Boil a full kettle. Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a spacious, lidded sauté/frying pan, stir in the onion and adjust the heat so the onion softens gently without colouring too much. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile, crack the garlic with your fist, flake away the skin, chop finely and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Work to a paste with the flat of a knife. Place the tomatoes in bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds or until the skin cracks and peels back. Drain, quarter, remove skin and scrape seeds into a sieve placed over a bowl. Crush to extract the juice. Chop the tomato flesh. Wear Marigolds and twist the beets in your hands to remove the skin. Dice in small pieces. By now the onion will be tender. Stir in the garlic, caraway and chilli. Stir fry for a couple of minutes until aromatic, then add the tomatoes and juice. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; you want it juicy rather than wet. Add the beets, cover and simmer for a few minutes to heat through and amalgamate the flavours. Add salt and pepper to taste. Re-boil the kettle. Place the spinach in a bowl, cover with boiling water, leave 2 minutes then drain in a colander, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Stir the spinach into the tomato and beets. That’s it.