One of my favourite restaurants is Moro. We used to go regularly after it opened, back when it wasn’t quite so popular. After the first Moro cookbook came out, it quickly attained legendary status. You could never get a table, although sometimes you could sit at the bar. Luckily the cookbook was so good that you could replicate most of their dishes at home and look dead clever at the same time. We left London in 2004 and haven’t been back to the restaurant, not sure what it’s like any more. But I keep a wistful eye on the London restaurant scene via the blogs and was excited to see they have opened a tapas place called Morito just down the street. The reviews have been mixed – hispanophiles Dos Hermanos didn’t rate it – but online reports almost universally rave about a tapa they serve called beetroot borani.
I absolutely love beetroot, I just think it’s got such a sophisticated flavour – tasting of freshly dug earth (in a good way) as well as sweet and acidic. I love it paired with dill or caraway seeds – and it loves lactic flavours like yoghurt and sour cream. It’s obviously very good with oily smoked fish, particularly salmon and eel.
So I was keen to try out the beetroot borani which is essentially a yoghurt and beetroot puree. There is a recipe in Moro East (probably the least satisfying of the three Moro cookbooks, but still well worth owning). The dish they serve at Morito has been augmented by the addition of some salty feta crumbled over the top and walnuts. The recipe calls for the beetroot to be boiled, but I find that roasting the beetroot gives a better result, although it takes longer.
This was the surprise hit of Hannah’s little party yesterday (can’t bring myself to write the yukky words baby shower).
400g yoghurt (preferably a creamy, full-fat yoghurt like Total)
3tbps olive oil
1 tsp Sugar
1 clove of garlic, crushed to a paste
small bunch of dill
1/2 pack feta cheese
Take whole beetroot, top and tail and and scrub clean. Place the beetroot on a sheet of foil. Sprinkle over some salt and olive oil and wrap into a tight parcel. Place the foil package into an oven-proof dish and into a 180 degree C oven and cook until tender, this could take between 1-3 hours depending on the size of the beetroot.
Remove and allow to cool. Peel the beetroot. Very roughly chop the beetroot and blend in the food processor. Add yoghurt, olive oil, garlic, half the dill and sugar and process until desired consistency (you may like it smooth or chunkier). Season to taste with salt and pepper and more sugar if you want it.
Spoon the mixture into a bowl. Chop the rest of the dill and sprinkle over. Crumble over the feta cheese and some walnuts if you like.
This is nice served as a meze or tapas, or alternatively as little canapes over crisp flatbreads. It would probably also be a good accompaniment to roast lamb or chicken dishes.