Beetroot Carpaccio with caramelised red onion, red port candied mini mushrooms, and a two coloured zucchini pickle served with a balsamic dressing.
Cut the beetroots into thin slices. You can use a good cleaned cutting machine.
The caramelised red onions: Peel the onions and cut them into thin slices. Mix the onions with the balsamic vinegar and sugar and put the whole mixture in a (non-stick) pan. Sprinkle with thyme. Stir well to make a good blend and cook gently over a low heat for about 20 minutes until the onions are thick, sticky and dark. Be sure to stir once in a while and see to it that the sugar doesn’t burn.
Candied mini mushrooms: Clean the mushrooms with a soft brush or paper towel. Put the mushrooms in a pan and pour on the red port. Make sure the mushrooms are well covered. Add a teaspoon of sugar and bring to (just) boil. Cook the mushrooms gently over a low heat and leave them to candy until most of the port has evaporated and the mushrooms are well coloured and a bit sticky.
The two coloured zucchini pickle: Cut the zucchinis into brunoises (= cut into small cubes). Part the onion and cut into thin slices. Bring the vinegar, sugar and spices to boil. Add the zucchini and onion and stir well. Cook gently over a low to medium heat for about 4-6 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
The balsamic dressing: Pour the balsamic vinegar into a pan and bring to boil. Cook gently over a low heat, just barely boiling. If you like, you can add a teaspoon of sugar to the vinegar once you bring it to boil. It will intensify the sweetness and the dressing keeps even longer. In the fridge, this balsamic dressing keeps for a long time.
To serve: Arrange the slices of beetroot as a Carpaccio on a large plate. Add some caramelised onion to the centre of the dish. Arrange some of the pickle on top of the onion. Arrange a few mushrooms on the Carpaccio and garnish with shiso purple cress or purple basil. Finally, gently drop some of the dressing over the beetroots.
Will you serve this salad for Christmas dinner? Serve it in a see through Christmas decoration (non-glass) with some rocket lettuce.
If you like goat cheese, serve this salad with chèvres doux , a soft goat cheese.
In a sugar free diet use rice syrup or corn syrup instead of sugar.
For a colourful salad you might want to use colourful beetroots like the Chioggia (red & striped beetroot)
Tips from the author
The recipe for the pickle is enough to fill some jars and store. Once removed from the heat, pour the pickle directly into sterilized jars. Make sure to fill up the jars completely. Close well and let them rest upside down for about ten minutes. Place the jars in the oven at 80°C for half an hour. Remove the jars from the oven and let them cool down completely. The pickle can be kept for a long time. Once open, keep the pickle in the refrigerator for a limited period of time. The balsamic dressing can be kept for a long time, if kept in the refrigerator. Serves 4 salads or starters or about 20 bouche amuses. (small single serves)