Notes from Catherine Rowett, former Green Party MEP for East of England and deputy coordinator of the Eastern Region Green Party*(UK). Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Pantzaria Salata

Here at last is the best beetroot recipe ever. This dish we learnt to love at the British School in Athens.

I have saved it till now because it belongs to the season when bunched beetroot are on the market, fresh with their green tops included. This time has now come, thanks to global warming.

There is a tale to the effect that it was to get beetroot with their tops on, for the purpose of this wonderful dish, that the Osborne family moved back to Cambridge. But amazingly, last time I was in Oxford I saw a bunch of beetroot on Oxford market. Wonders will never cease.

Pantzaria salata (or "Beetroots done the Greek way").

1 bunch of beetroot, small and young with the tops green and fresh
olive oil (lots) and a little vinegar if desired

Cut off the leaves, leaving about an inch of the stem on the beets. The leaves will be treated as chard (much like spinach).

Wash the leaves and the roots. Put the roots in a large pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil them until they are tender (about an hour at the most).

Meanwhile, put the clean wet leaves into a pan just big enough to hold them. Don't add any water (the water on the leaves will be sufficient). Wilt them over a low to medium heat with the lid on. After about 15 minutes or so they will be tender and cooked, including the long red stems.

Drain the leaves in a colander, and then using two sharp knives running in opposite directions like scissors, cut through the cooked chard, including the stems, so that it is well cut into small parts, with the pieces of the stem no more than about half an inch long.

When the roots have finished cooking, drain them and rub off the peel (if they are done the peel will come away easily). Cut off the top where the stub of the stalks is and the trailing root at the tail and cut them into slices. Arrange the slices on the centre of a platter. Spread the chopped chard round them.

Drizzle as much Greek virgin olive oil as you dare over both the roots and tops until they shine with a lovely gloss. If you like, add a very small amount of vinegar (or lemon juice) and a grating of nutmeg over the top.

Serve lukewarm or cold.

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