I love it when I contact someone I interviewed in Italy to ask for recipe inspiration, and they hand me a gem wrapped up in their own family history. This insanely pink salad has been a Christmas tradition for 3 generations in the family of Silvio Berlusconi’s image consultant. Presumably she never suggested that Italy’s flamboyant former Prime Minister should wear a beetroot coloured tie. It may have clashed somewhat with his slightly, er, orange complexion. However this unusual but simple dish is a perfect accompaniment to cold meats such as ham and turkey. It’s really easy to make for a large number of people and is a fantastic quick meal for kids who are of course intrigued by the colour. Pink isn’t just for girls.
Preparation time 30-40 minutes
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
600g peeled potatoes
150g tuna drained
2 hard boiled eggs peeled and sliced
cornichons or gherkins sliced
salt and pepper
parsley – a couple of sprigs finely chopped
1. You’ll need 2 pans on the hob. One to cook the the peeled spuds. Keep them whole or halved unless they’re enormous. Stick the beetroots in the second pan of boiling water. When beets are cooked and soft, peel and cut into little cubes (1-2cm). Make sure the potatoes are cooked but still firm and not overdone. Drain and set aside to cool. Then chop spuds into 2-3 cm cubes.
2. Tip the drained tuna into a big bowl and mash with a fork. Add 2 or 3 dessert spoons of mayonnaise and the potato cubes. Mix together. This is why you don’t want overcooked spuds or they turn to mash at this point. Then add beetroot and seasoning. Combine more gently so beets don’t disintegrate.
3. Transfer the deliciously pink mixture to your serving bowl. Then spread a thin layer of mayo on top before decorating with hard boiled egg, cornichons, and parsley.