April 3rd, 2009


Warm Pickled Beetroot and Heirloom Tomato Salad

I have had these pickled beetroots in my fridge since autumn of last year.

They came from our garden and it’s quite a surprise as we love beetroot and they normally get eaten quite quickly. The star anise has penetrated the beetroots and has given them a mysterious but outstanding flavour.

I discovered these beautiful multi coloured heirloom tomatoes at our local farmers market and thought that this would make a brilliant spring salad.
Heirloom tomatoes are better known as Heritage tomatoes. I love the knobbly shapes and multi colours that these tomatoes offer. Each tomato has its own taste and they make this dish extra special. If you cannot find heirloom tomatoes, use ordinary tomatoes instead.

I challenge you to plant tomatoes this summer, look for heritage tomato seeds or plants.

We enjoyed this warm pickled beetroot and heirloom tomato salad on a lazy sunny Saturday afternoon with our first glass of chilled rose wine for the year.

This salad has lots of different textures, flavours and serving the salad with components that have different temperatures makes it even more interesting.

The warmth of the potatoes and beetroot exposes the fragrance of the pickled lemons and also brings the perfume of the sherry vinegar out.

We enjoy this salad either on it’s own with freshly baked crust bread or with sautéed salmon fillets for supper.


  • 400g pickled beetroot
  • 1 baby gem lettuce
  • 100g sugar snap peas
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 1tbs chopped pickled lemon
  • 500g new potatoes
  • 200g baby plum tomatoes
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 300g heirloom tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • 1tbs butter
  • Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 100°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Wash the baby plum tomatoes, cut them in half. Place the tomatoes in a bowl, season with freshly cracked black pepper, salt, a tablespoon of olive oil and picked thyme leaves.

Spread the tomatoes on the baking tray with their cut sides upwards.

Bake the tomatoes in the preheated oven for 2 hours; check them after one hour, as you might need to move them around to bake evenly.

Wash the new potatoes; place them in a large pan of boiling salted water and cook until tender.

Remove the potatoes from the boiling water and refresh them under cold running water.

Cut the potatoes in 1/4’s and dust them with the ground cumin and season.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with olive oil. Sauté the potatoes in the olive oil, add the butter as soon as the potatoes start to colour. Sauté until golden brown, drain the potatoes on kitchen paper.

Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper and heat once more with a tablespoon of olive oil. Drain the pickled beetroots on kitchen paper and place them in the warm oil, sauté the beetroots over low heat to heat them through. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and salt.

Wash the baby gem lettuce, separate the leaves and spin the leaves dry in a salad spinner.

Wash the heirloom tomatoes and cut them in ¼’s.

Wash and finely shred the sugar snap peas on an angle.

  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of sugar, salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1tbs sherry vinegar
  • 75ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place the garlic, salt, sugar, mustard and vinegar in a pestle and mortar.

Crush until the garlic is pureed and the sugar dissolved.

Add the olive oil, freshly cracked black pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste. Mix well.

Assembling the salad

Place the sugar snap peas, baby gem lettuce, and chopped pickled lemons, cut heirloom tomatoes, sauté new potatoes and warm pickled beetroot in a large bowl.

Add a tablespoon of vinaigrette and mix together.

Arrange the salad on a serving platter, crumb the feta cheese over and garnish with the oven dried baby plum tomatoes.

Serve with the rest of the vinaigrette in a jug on the side for the guests to help themselves.

Serves 4

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