Winter is a tough time for salads; the seasonal ingredients are limited to brassicas and root vegetables and then the weather leaves you wanting nothing but stodgy comfort food. But I craved a salad this week and when I found a beautiful bunch of beetroot in the supermarket I knew I had the makings of a satisfying winter salad. My heart did a little leap for joy.
If your experience of beetroot so far has been pickled beets from a jar or even the vacuum packed ones then you need to try cooking your own. The difference is like the difference between canned and fresh tuna; incomparable. And there really isn’t much hassle in their preparation and I actually quite like the ‘I’ve just murdered someone’ hands (or you could wear rubber gloves). I wonder if that could be a Halloween freak night event; preparing raw beets!
Beetroot, kale and and walnut saladenough for 4 people as side salad or 2-3 as main event bunch of raw beetroots, about 500g 1 tablespoon of olive oil 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds bag of prepared kale, about 350g handful of walnuts, about 50g 150g goats cheese – I used ewes milk Wensleydale as it was on offer lemon vinaigrette – juice of half a lemon, a splash of white wine vinegar, same volume of olive or virgin rapeseed oil, large pinch of salt Preheat the over to 200 °C (fan) and line a baking tray with foil. Clean the beetroots and trim off the tops and roots; cut into chunky wedges. Put on the foil lined baking tray and drizzle over the olive oil and cumin seeds; toss until well covered. Cook for 30-40 minutes until tender and slightly caramelised around the edges. While the oven is on and hot toast the walnuts for 5 minutes. All both to cool. Blanch the kale in boiling water for a minute, drain and dunk into cold water to stop the cooking. You then need to fully dry the kale; either put in a salad spinner, pat dry with clean tea towels or wrap in a clean tea towel and whizz around your head like a lasso (you may want to do this outside, and don’t let go). Make up the vinaigrette by whisking the ingredients together. Make up the salad by layering the kale on the bottom, followed by the beetroot, crumble over the cheese, toss over the walnuts and drizzle over the dressing. Enjoy!