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Just right for spring

Just right for spring
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First Published: Mon, Feb 27 2012. 01 07 AM IST

Updated: Mon, Feb 27 2012. 01 07 AM IST
Warm marinated beets with lemon-mascarpone cream, hazelnuts and pickled onion
Serves 4
For pickled onions
250g Madras onions, peeled
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 cloves
1 pod garlic, crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp salt
For marinated beetroot
500g beetroot, chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
For lemon-mascarpone cream
1 cup mascarpone cheese
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup whipping cream
Hazelnuts, handful (for garnish)
Dill, a few sprigs (for garnish)
For the pickled onions, combine all ingredients except the onions in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Pour this mixture over the onions, so they are fully submerged in the liquid. Let it stand for a minimum of one day.
Next, place the beets in a pan and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, rosemary and thyme. Gently warm the pan for about a minute to allow the marinade to infuse. Once it starts to sputter/bubble a bit, remove from the flame. Toss lightly to coat the beets with marinade for a nice glaze and sprinkle with some fine sea salt. Set aside.
Now take the mascarpone, add the heavy cream to it and stir. Add fresh lemon zest and stir lightly. Sprinkle some salt on this mixture. Then squeeze the juice of half a lemon into it. Stir well, but not too much or you risk curdling. Give it a taste to make sure it’s light and lemony, but not overpowering.
The beets should have a nice flavour by now. Start plating by spooning some mascarpone cream on to the dish and smooth the surface, then loosely arrange the beets on top, and lightly spoon over some of the marinade. Garnish with some pickled onions and finish by topping with sprigs of fresh dill and hazelnuts.
Ideally, every spoonful will have a little of the hazelnut, a little of the beet, some of the cream.
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First Published: Mon, Feb 27 2012. 01 07 AM IST