A Cook's Plot

Side Dishes & Canapes

Beetroot Gratin

This year’s beetroot seedlings are coming along nicely but I’m too impatient for wait for them, so I’ve bought some lovely fresh beetroot from our local farmers’ market to make this side dish - it would be great as a vegetarian main course too, if you top the beetroot with goats’ cheese before adding the breadcrumbs.


Serves 4

  • handful of dill (a 20g supermarket pack)
  • 4 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 100g day-old bread (I used granary bread)
  • one and a half tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium-size beetroot, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar


Chop the dill and add half to the crème fraiche with the garlic and plenty of seasoning. Leave to stand for 30 mins at room temperature so that the flavours infuse. Meanwhile, whizz the bread in a food processor with the oil and the remaining dill.

Arrange the beetroot slices in a shallow, overproof dish, drizzle over the balsamic vinegar then pour the cream over. Spread the breadcrumbs over the top and bake at 170C (fan oven) for about 30 mins until the crumbs are golden and the beetroot is just tender.

Serves 4 as a side dish

A Cook's Plot Tip

I nearly always use half-fat crème fraiche but it's not suitable for a dish that's baked in the oven rather then cooked on the hob - the higher temperature and longer cooking time just turns into a solid mass and even my 'cornflour trick' (see my 'Chicken in A Creamy Mustard Sauce' post) doesn't help. So I've used just a little of the full-fat version here.

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