Spring is in the air and the farmers' markets have been humming with beautiful spring produce. I was delighted to be able to use some of this wonderful produce to make a relaxed Sunday lunch for a best friend, Lady G and Mr K recently. Lady G is a both wonderful cook (professionally, as well as at home) and a wondeful friend. We often meet at our local market to swap recipes, share a coffee and discuss everything from world politics and wine - to 'a place to call home'. Lady G is also currently studying nutrition, so I was keen to make something for our Sunday lunch that both sung of spring, but was also a really healthy start to the week ahead for us all. Taking inspiration from the classic Greek beetroot salad Patzarosaláta (παντζάροσαλάτα) and this season's best, this hearty salad was born. It makes a perfect starter for a spring time lunch.
Beetroot, sorrel and chèvre salad (παντζάρια και λάπαθο σαλάτα με τυρί)
2 medium sized beetroot, cleaned and peeled
1 carrot, cleaned and peeled
1 bunch of baby red vein sorrel leaves
1/4 cup salad Burnett leaves
1/4 cup wild Australian or Ligurian olives
Borage flowers for garnish
1 log of chèvre, cut into rounds
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Using a mandolin, very thinly slice the beetroot and carrot. Place in a large bowl along with the sorrel leaves, burnett and olives.
2. Make the dressing: add the raspberry vinegar and olive oil to a jar, along with some salt and pepper. Seal the jar and shake well until the dressing is emulsified.
3. Add the dressing to the bowl and toss to coat evenly. Take the dressed salad leaves and vegetables and arrange on small plates.
4. Place the rounds of chèvre on a lined baking sheet. Brush with oil and grill until lightly browned. Remove from the grill and place the rounds on the salad - drizzle with a little of the remaining dressing. Garnish with the borage flowers, if using.