Salt-Baked Beetroot Experiment

After really having liked salt-baked beetroot at Bord’eau, I decided to make this myself and served it as side for smoked ham of lamb for Christmas. When I googled for some recipes, I noticed that some recipes used only salt, whereas some recipes make a more elaborate crust with egg whites and other ingredients that go well with beets such as horseradish, orange zest, and thyme. As I always try to simplify recipes as much as possible (but without sacrificing flavor of course), I decided to roast them just in salt. But I remained curious about the more elaborate version. And so it was time for another side-by-side experiment together with Teun.

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Left-hand side: 2 beetroot with 2 egg whites, zest of one orange, 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, 1 Tbsp grated horseradish, and 500 grams (1.1 lbs) coarse sea salt.

On the right-hand side: 2 beetroot and 500 grams (1.1 lbs) coarse sea salt.

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In an oven-proof dish I grated the orange…

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…and the horseradish…

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…and added the thyme and egg whites.

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Then I mixed everything with a spoon until it was well mixed.

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On the right hand side I first put a layer of coarse sealt in an oven-proof dish, followed by the beetroot.

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I covered the beetroot with the remaining salt.

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I buried the other beetroot in the salt-orange-horseradish-thyme-eggwhite mixture.

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I baked both dishes for 75 minutes at 200ºC/400ºF.

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I allowed them to cool a bit.

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Then I broke away the salt crust and took out the beets.

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This was a lot harder with the salt crust that also included the egg whites.

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I allowed the beets to cool a bit more…

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…and then I rubbed off the skins and rinsed them with cold water to remove any remaining salt.

The verdict? It was impossible to taste any of the thyme, horseradish, or orange in the beetroot. The beets that were roasted with the egg whites mixed in with the salt were slightly more salty, that was the only difference we could discern. The same effect (if desired) could in all likelihood be achieved by adding a bit of water to the salt.

So the conclusion: for salt-baked beetroot don’t bother with an elaborate recipe, just use beetroot and salt!

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To turn the result of this experiment into dinner, Teun fried some haddock and made a nice sauce of shallot, crème fraîche and mustard that went well with the salt-baked beetroot.

Flashback


Two years ago I made orecchiette pasta with clams (vongole) and green cauliflower (romanesco). This combination works very well, and is slightly more elegant than the very similar pasta with broccoli and mussels.

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14 thoughts on “Salt-Baked Beetroot Experiment

  1. Stefan – I love to prepare beet in the traditional way.. boiling them, peeling off the skin, etc. Then, I often make a salad with oranges, tomatoes, garlic, an herb, and a very nice olive oil. I am wondering if beetroot could be infused with our shared, enjoyed flavors via a roasting method, perhaps with a foil method? A chicken does take on great flavor when stuffed with aromatics, so why not a root veg like the beet? Lovely experiment… You always keep us on our toes. :-)

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    • I usually cook beets wrapped in foil in the oven, as that will keep more flavor inside of them than boiling them.
      After this experiment I’m hesitant about trying to infuse beets with anything, but adding something to the foil may work.

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      • Hi Stefan – like the new blog layout!
        I also do beets in the oven in foil – the original recipe said to add herbs etc, but I usually don’t bother, especially as peeling the skin off presumably removes some of the flavouring!
        Does the salt bake work much better than foil?

        I’ve still some beets in the garden that need eating – so it’s a great suggestion! Thank you

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          • OK thanks Stefan – I’m guessing with something like fish that maybe the salt allows some liquid out (?) or extracts – so you don’t get soggy fish like you can with foil? Beets – perhaps there is benefit on extracting liquid but they’ve got a skin – so less? Just interesting!! Does Modernist Cuisine (the big set) say anything about salt for roasting on this?

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  2. Stefan, I love your blog and just made your smoked celeriac with scallops to great applause! But I HATE beets!!!! Beets are literally the only food on the planet I can’t eat. Cock roaches…no problem, uni….no problem, give me anything, but beets. These, however, sound almost tolerable so I may try beets again… reluctantly.

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  3. I’ve roasted plenty of beets, Stefan, but never have I heard of salt roasting them. Now I learn there’s more than one way to salt roast them? I never know what to expect when I come here and I love that. :)

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