On trend with beetroot

Marc Soper salmon veg chat small

Marc Soper is Executive Chef, Wharekauhau Estate Lodge, Palliser Bay, Wairarapa. Here is his inspirational dish: Garden herb spiced Big Glory Bay salmon, summer squash, asparagus, beetroot and citrus, hemp and soy

More about beetroot:

A native of southern Europe, beetroot has a vibrant crimson colour which comes from pigments no other vegetable has.

Originally the leaves were preferred eating, rather than the roots. In New Zealand, usually it is the roots that are eaten, however, young beetroot leaves are sometimes available. In some countries all parts of the beetroot are regularly eaten. Beetroot is frequently consumed pickled. Baby beetroot leaves may be found in salad mixes.

Several varieties are available with roots varying in shape from round to spherical. Flavour variations are very subtle. Golden and Chioggia beetroot (the striped beetroot in the image above) are new varieties.

What to look for

Roots should be smooth with a firm skin and deep red colour. Avoid roots with scaly areas around the top surface as they tend to be tougher. If the leaves are still attached, they should not be floppy; they should be bright green with pink/red veins. Buy small quantities regularly to guarantee freshness.

Availability

All year but most plentiful November - April.

For more information on beetroot go here.