Beets, plums and bitter leaves

Ingredients

    2 tbsp rapeseed or mild olive oil

    500g beetroot, peeled and quartered

    5 plums, stoned and quartered

    1 tbsp red wine vinegar

    150g Treviso (or ordinary) radicchio

    1 red chilli (seeds in), sliced

    2 tsp maple syrup or honey

    2 garlic cloves, crushed

    2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

    handful soft herbs – dill and coriander work really well here (optional)

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Main serves 4

This recipe is taken from Olia's new book Kaukasis (Mitchell Beazley, £25); photography by Elena Heatherwick

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1.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

2.

Add the oil to a roasting tray and heat it in the oven for 5 minutes. Then add the beetroot, plums and vinegar to the roasting tray. Season with salt and roast for 30 minutes.

3.

Leaving a little of the stalk in place, slice the radicchio into thin wedges. Add it to the beetroot tray with the chilli, maple syrup or honey and a bit more salt, and give it all a good stir. Roast for a further 10 minutes.

4.

Add the garlic and stir it through the contents of the tray, then remove the tray from the oven. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and herbs (if using) and serve.

5.

You can use any bitter crunchy vegetable instead of radicchio. Chicory would work well, as would sliced cultivated dandelion. Any toasted seed or nut can be substituted for sesame. I have also tried this with blackberries and blackcurrants instead of plums and it worked wonders – beetroot loves any dark, rich fruit that has a little acidity. I sometimes like to serve this with watercress or rocket.

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