Salad of Grilled Rump Steak, Spinach, Smashed Parsnips and Swede

With Beetroot, Horseradish and Parsley Dressing

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By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

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This is a really good winter salad. Beetroot is a much underrated vegetable – I remember when, in 1992, an Australian-chef-led restaurant opened in London’s Chelsea and several top reviewers commented on the chef’s overuse of beetroot – I think it appeared in two or three dishes. How times change, though. In recent years, restaurants all over the UK have begun to embrace this vegetable anew.

If you buy raw beets, you can cook them in several ways. I prefer to wrap the washed beets tightly in foil and bake at 180°C, gas 4, until you can insert a thin sharp knife into the centre – about 1 hour for a small tennis-ball-sized beetroot. When washing beets, avoid scratching the skin, as they will then bleed their colour. Alternatively, place the beets in a pot, cover with cold water and add 120ml vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt for every litre of water, then boil until you can almost poke a skewer through them. Either way, peel once cool enough to handle (using gloves).


  • 4 rump steaks, each about 200 g
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 400 g parsnips, cut into medium-sized chunks
  • 400 g swede, cut into medium-sized chunks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
  • 100 g butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 200 g cooked beetroot
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated horseradish (or use horseradish paste)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 large handfuls of flat-leaf parsley
  • 400 g spinach
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings, rinsed in cold water and put in the fridge covered with iced water


Lightly season the steaks and leave at room temperature, tightly covered with cling film, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Place the parsnips, swede and rosemary in a pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, bring to the boil and cook until the vegetables are tender. Drain in a colander.

Put the pot back on the heat, add the butter and cook it to a ‘beurre noisette’ stage (i.e. until it is a light nut-brown in colour). Add the thyme, return the vegetables to the pot and coarsely mash them. Season and keep warm.

Finely dice or grate half the beetroot and put in a bowl, then coarsely chop the rest and put in a blender with the garlic, horseradish, vinegar and olive oil. Blitz until smooth. Add this purée to the diced beets and parsley, and mix in. Season well.

Bring a pot of water to the boil, or use a steamer, and briefly cook the spinach, then drain through a colander and gently squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Roughly chop the leaves.

Preheat a grill (or use a heavy pan) and brush the steaks with a little oil on both sides. Assuming your steaks are 1.5 cm thick, cook them on a high heat for 3 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 2. This will give you medium-rare steaks; if you want them cooked more or less, then do so. To test how cooked they are, slice into the thickest part of a steak with a sharp knife and look inside. Leave the cooked steaks to rest for 10 minutes in a warm place, such as an oven preheated to 100°C, gas ½, while assembling the dish.

To Serve

Divide the mashed root veg between 4 plates. Slice the steaks into 1cm thick slices and mix with the spinach, then sit this mix on top. Dollop the beetroot salad over, then drain the onion rings and add them last of all.