This savoury flatbread from Matthew Evans is the perfect picnic snack. Beetroot leaves are often thrown away, but as a relative of silverbeet, they’re perfectly edible and actually quite delicious. The obvious substitute is silverbeet, or spinach if you have it. This recipe features fennel seeds, but you could use cumin if preferred.
- 8 beetroot (about 350 g), leaves and stems only
- 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
- extra virgin olive oil, to cook
- 4 flatbreads
- 120 g goat’s milk feta, crumbled
- 40 g (¼ cup) pine nuts, toasted
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 1 hour
Wash the beetroot leaves and stems well, pat dry with paper towel and roughly shred. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, then add onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook for a further minute, then add fennel seeds and cook for another minute or until fragrant. Add beetroot leaves and stems, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until very soft. (I tend to add about 100 ml water if the pan dries before the stems have softened.)
Remove lid and season with pepper (the feta should add enough salt). Cook for a further minute to allow the mixture to dry out a bit.
Heat a little oil in a heavy-based 22 cm frying pan over low–medium heat, then add 1 flatbread. Top with half the the beetroot leaf mixture, half the fetta and half the pine nuts. Place another flatbread on top and press down so it starts to stick as the cheese melts. (I put a lid on the pan to help the filling heat evenly.) Cook for 2 minutes or until filling is warmed through and the base is toasted.
Remove flatbread from pan and drizzle the untoasted side with oil. Return to the pan, oiled-side down, and cook for a further 2 minutes or until base is toasted.
Place flatbread on a plate or chopping board, then set aside to cool while you repeat process with remaining flatbreads, beetroot leaf mixture, feta and pine nuts.
Cut flatbreads into quarters and serve warm or at room temperature.
As seen in Feast magazine, Feb 2012, Issue 6.
Photography by Alan Benson.