Side dishes and condiments make or break a meal for me. They are also one of the easiest ways to bump up the flavour in all kinds of dishes. These week my condiment of choice was “Puréed Beetroot” from Yottam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem. Or at least it was supposed to be a purée, without a food processor it became an incredibly satisfying “Beetroot Tapenade” on my side of the world. You choose, dip or tapenade, this jewel won’t let you down.
Puréed Beetroot Serves 6
adapted from Jerusalem by Yottam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
900g medium beetroots (500g after cooking and peeling)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 apples, cooked until soft and falling apart*
1 1/2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp za’atar
Beets in France are only sold pre-cooked, saving you time without compromising on flavour, so I was able to skip this step. For the rest of you, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash your beets and place them in the oven uncovered until completely soft, about an hour. Remove from oven and let them cool enough to handle. Peel the beets by simply slipping the skins away from the flesh, after the beets are cooked this will be easy. (This is a good place to roast up some extra to have on hand for the rest of the week).
While the beets are cooking dice your two apples, leaving the skins on but removing the core. Place in a small saucepan on the stove, with water in the bottom. Cover and cook as if for applesauce until your apples are tender. Careful the water doesn’t evaporate and the apples burn!
Place the beets, garlic, chilli, and apples in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Transfer to a large bowl and add the honey, olive oil, za’atar and 1 tsp of salt. Stir well until combined.
Note: As mentioned above, I don’t have a food processor so I chopped everything very finely by hand before mixing in the honey, olive oil, and seasoning (I actually used herbs de provence because that is what I had but I recommend za’atar if you can find it.) Personally, I like the texture of the tapenade more than a creamy dip. You could achieve this by simply processing for less time, rather than until a smooth purée is achieved. Personal preference here.
*The original recipe called for 250g of Greek yogurt, but being lactose intolerant, I chose to skip the yogurt and substitute with cooked apples/applesauce. With the tapenade style dip I made, it worked great, and the apple flavour was great with the slight heat from the chilli and the earthiness of the beets. For a smoother and richer dip use the yogurt.
What’s beautiful here? You have a wicked condiment that can be used as everything from a sandwich spread to a dressing for a bean salad. It is full of fresh, whole foods, takes almost no prep time whatsoever, and can be divided and frozen for another week down the road.