Is there any ingredient better than garlic? In my opinion, there definitely isn't, it can be mellow, spicy even sharp but it is always delicious be it on garlic bread, in Baba Ganoush or just eaten out of the bulb once roasted. Last week I wrote a recipe for Wild Garlic Pesto Pasta and how we are coming to the very end of Wild Garlic season. Just in time for it's closure I thought I'd share this Beetroot, Wild Garlic & Goats Cheese Tart because quite honestly it is one of the most delicious vegetarian dishes I've ever made.
Beetroot isn't everyone's cup of tea, as discussed previously I think pickled beetroot has scarred generations for life. But for me when roasted with a generous lashing of olive oil, and salt and pepper, it is one of the best vegetables you can eat. I love it just roasted on it's own with a bit of horseradish, or mashed up as a veggie burger but ultimately it shines best when accompanied by goats cheese (see my beetroot tarte tatin recipe here).
The tart sourness of the goats cheese cuts through the earthy beetroot, which is good just on it's own in a simple salad. But to tart it up a bit, forgive the pun, if you serve it on a bed of flakey puff pastry you will impress everyone with your cooking prowess. I added some wild garlic to give it a punch of heat, and because, to be honest, when wild garlic is in season I add it to everything. Nothing escapes it's touch. Except dessert, I have yet to add wild garlic, or garlic of any kind, to a dessert.
I made this dish when we were on holiday enjoying our time away in the rainy Lake District. It might look like a bit of an extravagant dish to make in a self-catered cottage but it's really not it's all in the presentation. One thing I find when I'm away is that we tend to only bring salt, pepper, olive oil and maybe a bit of mustard. For herbs we might forage some like this wild garlic or pick up a bunch of thyme or parsley from the green grocers and cook with that for a week. It's good fun because we get to test our creativity in using local produce and avoiding using lots of spices and herbs to create a tasty meal.
For this recipe I used yellow and purple beetroot, it looks pretty but they also have slightly different flavours and I find the yellow beetroot is softer. If you know any beetroot haters, you could use all yellow to try and disguise the beets, but use whatever beetroot you have available.
CAUTION: do not tell children yellow beetroot is potato, or celeriac, or Jerusalem artichokes. It scars the child for life and they will never eat the vegetable again, I have still not recovered from the Jerusalem artichoke pretence of 1999.
Not one to like any food to go to waste we served this tart with a salad made from the remaining wild garlic and it's flowers and some lambs lettuce, drizzled with a super quick honey mustard dressing, 1 part English mustard, 1 part honey, 3 parts olive oil, 2 parts lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. This is my go to Summer salad dressing, that requires little to no effort, which is my all year round cooking stance.
Beetroot, Wild Garlic & Goats Cheese Tart
3 yellow beetroot
3 purple beetroot
4-6 large wild garlic leaves
Small bunch of fresh thyme
200g soft goats cheese log
1 red onion
Zest of 1 lemon
250g puff pastry
Salt and pepper
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a tray with foil. Cut the beetroot into approximately 1cm thick slices widthways and place them on the lined tray. Drizzle the beetroot with a healthy dose of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and 5 or 6 whole sprigs of thyme, and mix it all up so the beetroot are evenly coated. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.
Step 2. Roll out the puff pastry in an oblong shape and place on another lined tray. Finely slice the onion and fry in a saucepan till soft and translucent, then add the sugar and cook till slightly caramelised. Then set the onion aside to cool.
Step 3. Once the 15 minutes is up, take the beetroot out and leave to cool, removing the thyme sprigs. Turn the oven up to 200°C for the next cooking stage. While the beetroot and onions are cooling, you can grate the lemon zest, slice the cheese into roundels, and strip some thyme leaves from the sprigs, as well as finely slice the wild garlic leaves. All the fun menial tasks, alternatively get someone else to do them and have a cup of tea or in my case a hot lemon.
Step 4. Assemble the tart! Place the onions on the puff pastry base leaving a 2 cm edge onion free on all the sides of the tart. Arrange the beetroot and goats cheese on top of the onions, I got for the whole purple beetroot, goats cheese, yellow beetroot, goats cheese look but let your imagination run wild. Then scatter the tart with lemon zest, thyme leaves and wild garlic. Bake the tart in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes till the pastry is cooked.
Step 5. Cut the tart into slices and serve to all your guests with salad and honey mustard dressing, or alternatively place all the salad and honey mustard dressing on top of the tart and attempt to roll it all up, Swiss roll style, and eat it like a wrap for one. It might be 2 days of calories but who's counting?
What do you guys think of wild garlic, is it something you use quite often? If so, have you ever had it in a dessert? If anyone has any recommendations, drop me a comment below.