One Friday evening I had dinner and stayed over at my friend’s, Jess. She has the most amazing eye for design detail inside and outside in her garden, its looks like a magazine without the coldness as it still feels welcoming and homely. Lucky for me she sent me on my way in the morning with a big goody bag filled with her home grown from seed, beetroot, salad leaves, spinach and kale. We ate the kale in our favourite oven baked gnocchi recipe. Next I decided to have a go at the beetroot for lunch and it did not disappoint. You have a wonderful earthiness and sweetness from the beetroot, saltiness from the halloumi, pepper notes from the rocket and a tangy dressing to lift and bring the whole dish together.
For the Salad
- Bunch of beetroot (I reserved the leaves and cooked like spinach)
- 1/2 pack of halloumi (8 slices)
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- drizzle of olive oil
- 4 sprigs thyme
- salt and pepper
- 60ml water
- 1 small bag of rocket leaves
- 6 walnut halves coarsely chopped
For the Dressing
- zest of half a lemon
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- leaves removed from large sprig of thyme
- juice of a lemon
- 1/4 preserved lemon finely chopped, optional (recipe)
- 1 tsp honey or honey mustard
- 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Pre heat oven to 180 degree’s (fan), scrub the beetroot to remove any mud but leave on their skins. Place the beetroot, garlic, 4 thyme sprigs, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, salt and pepper ( a grind) and drizzle olive oil over and around the beetroot. Rub the mixture into beetroot well. Add the water and cover with foil and bake in oven for 1 hour. You may want to check half way through to see if it needs another splash of water.
- To cook the halloumi, heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Dry fry the halloumi (they will release a lot of moisture) around 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned and set aside on kitchen paper.
- Add all the dressing ingredients into a jar and shake well to combine place in fridge so they can combine and enhance their flavours.
- Once the beetroot is cooked and cool enough to handle wearing gloves peel off the beetroot skins and chop into chunks.
- To assemble salad, put a handful of rocket in the dishes, add the beetroot and halloumi. Give the dressing another shake and drizzle over the salad and sprinkle over the chopped walnut pieces.