Scandinavian & Nordic food is hot right now. This is due mainly to the fact that the two Michelin star restaurant Noma in Denmark has been named Restaurant of the Year for the last three years. The chef Rene Redzepi is responsible for starting the reinvention and redefinition of traditional Nordic cuisine and is leading the way in the “wildculture” and foraging revolution.
No wanting to be left out ( but in no way tempted by the pickled herrings or live ants )I decided to have my own revolution. Thanks to The Washer Up’s dad, Jim, who sends me everything food related that he has cut out of English newspapers, I have a constant input of recipes from the frontline of food fashion.
These caught my eye because they contain three ingredients that, for me are (or used to be) quite challenging. I didn’t used to like beetroot at all now I love it especially in this Beetroot Hummus. Dill used to be my least favourite herb, I never used it and avoided it wherever possible. Now, thanks to a few weeks in the summer cooking for an Iranian family who use dill in and on everything, I love that too. It’s brilliant with beetroot as in this Roasted Beetroot Salad with Dill Hazelnut Pesto.
Horseradish on the other hand is a whole different can of worms. Does Rene do worms too?
I hate horseradish. Can’t even go near it. At the restaurant we served horseradish sauce with the roast beef, it would make me heave just clearing it from the table. So I didn’t. You may be wondering why I have such a strong aversion to it. Well I’ll tell you why. Dad, the truth will out.
When I was very young, about four year’s old I think, we went to my Nan & Grandad’s house for lunch as we did most weekends. My grandad used to grow his own horseradish and make it into horseradish sauce by grating it fresh into large jars that were stored in the larder. Now for some reason best known to his evil self, my dad decided to open one of these jars, stick it under my little four year old nose, and told me to take a big whiff of it.
I screamed and cried for what felt like quite a long time. I can still feel it now, the burning nostrils, watering eyes and numb brain. And what was my dad doing? Laughing he was, thought it was hilarious. As did my grandad come to think of it.
Still not forgiven him for that. Should have reported him to the NSPCC.
So in the spirit of Noma and the food revolution I decided to give it a try. I decided to move on and give closure to my horseradish hatred by using it in this recipe. And do you know what, I liked it. It actually tastes really good in this dish. It’s still not my favourite thing and I held my breath while spooning it out of the jar but I can see what all the fuss is about. Beetroot and horseradish is a fabulous flavour combination.
Just don’t go making young children sniff it. Because that would just be mean.
I made about 12 fritters out of this recipe which should feed four people as a lunch or starter with a salad. You could serve it with some boiled new potatoes for a main course. You could also make smaller flatter cakes and serve them as canapés with drinks. Just top with a blob of the sauce and a sprig of dill. You should get about 24 and they will obviously not take as long to cook.
Beetroot Fritters with Horseradish & Dill Yoghurt Sauce
Serves 4, makes about 12. Vegetarian, gluten-free. Adapted from The Times Food & Drink
- 450 g beetroot, peeled & grated (use gloves dad)
- 150 g carrots, peeled & grated (could use parsnips)
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 50 g blanched almonds, finely chopped
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 100 g rolled oats
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- salt & black pepper
- dill sprigs to serve
- toasted cumin seeds, to serve
- crumbled feta, to serve (optional)
For the Horseradish Sauce:
- 200 ml Greek yoghurt/goat’s yoghurt or crème fraiche ( or a mix)
- 2-4 Tbsp horseradish sauce (or fresh grated horseradish)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp honey
- salt & black pepper
- fresh dill, chopped
Mix together the peeled & grated beetroot & carrot with the shallot, almonds, thyme, coriander, oats, eggs, salt & black pepper in a bowl until well combined, cover and leave in the fridge for at least an hour. I left some overnight for lunch the next day and it was still good.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Using gloves, take a handful of the mix and squeeze it into a fritter shape (squeezing out any liquid) and place on a plate while you make the rest.
Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a frying pan until hot. Then cook the fritters over a medium high heat on both sides until crispy, about 2 minutes a side. Remove with a slotted spoon to an ovenproof dish and bake for about 25 minutes.
Make the sauce by mixing the yoghurt/crème fraiche with the horseradish. Start with 2 Tbsp horseradish and add more if needed, I am a horseradish wimp though. Then add the lemon, honey, dill salt & pepper and taste. Adjust as required.
Toast some cumin seeds in a pan until fragrant.
To serve: make a little tower of beetroot fritters and generously drizzle over the horseradish sauce. Sprinkle over some cumin seeds, some crumbled feta (if using) and top with a sprig of fresh dill. I served them with a radicchio and watercress salad with a lemon & olive oil dressing.