Anchovies and beetroot could be considered a risky combo, but this simple dish is a guaranteed winner.
Serves 4-6 as a side dish or starter
Ready in 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Trim the leaves from the beetroot and reserve. Roast the beetroot, covered in foil, for 1-2 hours. Allow to cool, covered, before peeling and cut into rough dice.
2. Wash the beetroot leaves in plenty of cold water as they can be sandy, like spinach. Drain and lay them in a baking dish with the olive oil, sherry vinegar, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of water. Cover tightly with tin foil and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Let them cool in the resulting juices - don't discard these, as they make a fine dressing.
3. Grill or char the red pepper over a gas flame and remove and discard the stalk, skin and seeds. Cut the pepper into rough strips and toss it with the beetroot, leaves, juices, anchovies - chopped or whole - and seasoning to taste. Add the fresh mint or basil before serving.
Tip: Here is a simple recipe to show you how delicious a cooked salad of the roots and tops can be. Try it on its own or next to a hunk of grilled fish. I particularly like this with skate.
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