Beetroot has quite a different texture when roasted in salt. It is tender but firm with an enhanced flavour and, providing you peel them properly, they are not at all salty to eat.
8-9 large golf ball-sized beetroot
5 bay leaves
750 grams coarse rock salt
¾ cup plain flour
1/3 cup rosemary sprigs
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
½ - ¾ cup water
Horseradish and mustard sauce
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons horseradish
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
24 cm ovenproof sauté pan or shallow casserole dish
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Salt crust: Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, combining to form a wet, sand-like consistency.
Wash the beetroot well and cut off the leaves, retaining an inch or two of stem. Brush the beetroot and the sauté pan with a little olive oil. Sprinkle a layer of the salt mixture over the base of the pan and nestle the beetroot into it, tucking half a bay leaf under five of them. Pack the remaining salt between the beetroot. Roast for 45 minutes until the beetroot is tender when pierced with a skewer.
Sauce: Combine the ingredients in a bowl and season.
To serve: Lift the beetroot out of the salt crust, peel and cut into wedges. Place in a bowl and serve with the horseradish sauce.