There are few root vegetables as pretty as the chioggia beetroot. These rosy-red heirloom beetroots originally came from the Italian coastal town Chioggia near Venice in Northern Italy, hence the name. You may also know them as ‘candy cane beets’, ‘bulls-eye beets’, or ‘candy stripe beets’ due to the fact that they reveal a beautiful white and reddish pink stripe pattern when sliced in half. Since they are often associated with candy canes these beetroots are considered a festive and colourful addition to any holiday spread (oops, to late for that!), but I think these beets with their mildly sweet and slightly earthy flavour make a great addition to any meal any other day of the year as well.
For this simple salad I’ve combined chioggia beets, which are simply kept raw and sliced thinly with a mandolin, with some slightly bitter radicchio, some tart fresh green apple, a few sprinklings of peppery garden cress and a handful crunchy toasty hazelnuts. The dressing is kept rather simple as well, which makes this a perfect basic salad that can be easily spruced up with some goats- or blue cheese and/or some chicken fillet, or eaten as is as a side dish to meat or fish.
Note: these beetroots need to be kept raw if you want them to retain their bright stripey pattern. Cooking or steaming them will usually make their pattern bleed or fade, but if you’re really not into raw beetroots you can try to very lightly steam them before cutting them into this salad. Their greens are edible as well (raw and cooked), so should your beets come with those, add them to this salad as well!
Chioggia Beetroot Salad with Radicchio, Apple and Hazelnuts (Candy Cane Beet Salad)