A wonderful synthesis of flavours and textures, this recipe for Chermoula Beets, Dates & Pistachios is from Selin Kiazim’s Three: Acid, Texture, Contrast combines earthy, sweet roasted beets, squidgy-sweet dates and crunchy toasted pistachio nuts with a bright and punchy herb sauce.
Chermoula, a North African condiment, lifts the entire dish – and you can ring the changes by using your favourite type of vinegar.
Read Nicky’s in-depth review of Three by Selin Kiazim here.
Chermoula Beets, Dates & Pistachios
Until the tender age of about 32, beetroots (beets) and I did not get along. My mind was changed after a visit to Coombeshead Farm, chef Tom Adam’s Cornwall outpost where he quietly lets his food do the talking while he is off chasing his hand-reared Mangalitsa pigs through the forest. Beetroots grown by a neighbouring farm were served as part of a first course at a dinner that went straight to the top of my list of favourite meals that year (and the next too, incidentally). They were the sweetest, earthiest beetroots I had ever had, with a texture approaching that of fudge. Like any true foodie geek, I ambushed Tom after dinner for tips and tricks. His dish inspired me to give beetroots another go.
Chermoula is a North African condiment and works really well with the flavour of beetroot. If ever I form an all-girl punk band, I think I will call ourselves the Chermoula Beets.
- 800g-1kg (1¾–2¼lb) beetroot (beets) – a selection of different colours, if you can find them
- 5 Medjool dates, pips removed and chopped into 6
- 25 g (1oz) pistachios, toasted and chopped
For the chermoula
- 1 small handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 small handful coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
- ¼ red onion, finely chopped
- ½ chilli, finely chopped
- ¼–½ lemon, juiced
- 1 small garlic clove finely grated
- ½ tbsp vinegar (red, white, apple cider or moscatel), plus extra for the beets
- 50 ml (1¾fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the beets
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Wrap the beetroot (beets) in a foil envelope and place on a baking sheet. Place into the oven and cook for 45–90 minutes, depending on the size of the beetroot, until a skewer or tip of a knife inserted into the beetroot comes out easily. Leave to cool slightly. Using a small knife, peel the beetroot and then cut into random-shaped chunks.
Turn the oven down to 140°C/120°C fan/275°F/gas mark 1.
Coat the beetroot in a little olive oil and salt and scatter across another lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for a further 2–3 hours or until the beetroot have shrivelled a little, a bit like a sun-blushed tomato.
Remove from the oven and, once cool, coat in a little olive oil, vinegar and salt.
To make the chermoula, combine all the ingredients and season to taste. Alternatively, you could blitz all the ingredients in a food processor into a rough paste.
Spoon the beetroot across a serving plate and top with the chermoula. Scatter over the dates and pistachios.
Encouraged by Kiazim’s guidance to adjust recipes to suit one’s personal tastes, Nicky upped both the lemon and vinegar to add acidity to her dish.
Find Parsnip and Beetroot recipes on Kavey Eats, or check out the review to see other recipes from the book.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Three: Acid, Texture, Contrast – The Essential Foundations to Redefine Everyday Cooking by Selin Kiazim from publisher Quadrille. Book photography by Chris Terry. Our photography by Nicky Bramley.
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