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What’s cooking today: Beetroot & pomegranate salad

What’s cooking today: Beetroot & pomegranate salad
Tony Jackman’s beetroot and pomegranate salad. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Because The Foodie’s Wife doesn’t eat beetroot, ever since she had to eat it in a salad as a child, The Foodie hardly ever gets to eat it either. And he loves it. So he concocted a beetroot salad, nothing like the ones in jars.

The need to do some serious writing has brought me to the Boekehuis in Calvinia in the Hantam Karoo for a while, where between doing my job I’m using extracurricular time to get the first draft of a memoir down. This has been coming all my life, ever since I was a kid who loved beetroot salad.

In one of the two local supermarkets, I spied a vacuum-wrapped pack of cooked beetroot. All peeled and ready to use. That went into my basket before the tannie next to me could blink.

I also bought some ordinary mayonnaise, and back at the house I had Rozendal fynbos vinegar, which is sublime, the Banhoek chilli oil that I’d brought from Cradock, sundry spices including ground sumac, and crushed coriander seeds.

In the back yard, the part of the werf where there’s a small orchard of fig, quince and pomegranate, I picked the only ripe pomegranate I could find. I hope my hosts Alta and Erwin Coetzee, who also own the Hantam Huis here and the beautiful Rupert Huijs next door to the Boekehuis, won’t mind.

Here’s the salad I concocted with those elements.

(Serves 2, so I put some in the fridge for the next day)

Ingredients

2 cups cooked beetroot, cubed

1 cup mayonnaise

A drop of Banhoek chilli oil

2 Tbsp Rozendal fynbos vinegar

Himalayan crystal salt

Black pepper

1 Tbsp toasted crushed coriander seeds

Pomegranate seeds

Sumac powder

1 fennel frond for garnish, or another green herb

Method

If buying raw beetroot, peel them and put them in a pot of lightly salted cold water. Bring it to a boil, reduce to a fairly brisk simmer, and cook until tender. Drain and leave to cool until they can be handled.

Once cooled, cut them into medium to small cubes and put them in a bowl.

Toast the coriander seeds in a dry pan until nicely toasted but not burnt.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, chilli oil, fynbos vinegar, coriander seeds, salt and pepper, and mix well. Toss this sauce through the beetroot.

Slice open the pomegranate and scoop out about half of the red seeds, or less if it’s a large fruit, being sure to leave behind any of the whitish membrane.

Transfer the beetroot and its sauce to a serving bowl or plate, scatter the pomegranate seeds (arils) on top, and dust with sumac powder.

Place a jaunty herb sprig , such as fennel, on top. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

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