I’ve spent a lot of time reading menus on restaurant websites for a piece I was writing this week, and I’ll tell you what, nothing puts a dampener on your green soup like combing through tantalising descriptions of which meats are being shoved into tacos at the moment, or just how many things can be done with an avocado.
Munching on stale cashew nuts and slices of toast nicked from my housemates, my mind kept wandering to more and more elaborate things I could make for my dinner, having been bombarded with words like ‘emulsified’, ‘smashed’ and ‘whipped’ all day. I thought, screw simply grating that bunch of beetroots like a savage, or noodling them like some nutter who spends too much time on Pinterest (you rang?), I’m gonna ~carpaccio them, like a fancy badass. (I did this using the flat-blade setting on my spiraliser btw, but you could just use a knife to slice them really thinly)
It seems as though any chef who’s anyone is wanging a load of broad beans into everything at the moment, in season as they are, which means I too have a fridge full of them. It takes on average a year and a half to get a person-sized portion of the little bastards out of their pods and shells, so I’m always inclined to blend them up into a sauce of sorts to make them go further. Made into a kind of salsa verde, with garlic, olive oil, parsley, anchovies and lemon, they became a brilliant topping for my slivers of beetroot, all salty and grassy against the sweet earthy beets. Throw some goat’s cheese, a winning partner for beetroot, and Bob’s yer uncle, you’ve got a lovely summer salad that you could flog for a tenner up Soho.
This would be great as part of a BBQ spread or served as a starter – if you’re the kind of person who serve starters, because it only takes a bit of blending and assembling to put together, and can easily be made in advance. Or of course, you could slap it in a Tupperware and smugly eat it for your lunch at work while everyone else chows down on Pret sandwiches.
Because of the anchovies in the salsa, this isn’t actually vegetarian, but you could sub for capers for the same salty, umami (eugh, soz) boost if anyone objects to the anchovs.