Beetroot, pickled turnip and goat's curd salad


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There are a couple of elements here, which in my view, turn this from a standard (if lovely) beetroot and goat's cheese salad into something more interesting and vibrant. The first is the pickled turnip, which is the easiest thing in the world to make, and adds a rasping sharpness to the dish. The other is the watercress purée, which alongside the sweet beetroot and tangy goat's curd, provides a useful, vegetable-y bass note.

Nasturtium leaves are good if you can get them. They’re deliciously peppery and look pretty to boot, and can be found, among other places, in certain summer garden salad bags. Any other leaves will work fine though – pea shoots, rocket, watercress, whatever you have handy.

Ultimately there’s little cooking or skill needed here for what is a cracking summer starter dish. By now you’ll probably know that I’m a big goat's curd fan. You can cheat, if you lack the time or inclination, by mixing soft goat's cheese with a little natural yogurt.





Goat's curd

Pickled turnip

Salad dressing

Watercress purée

To begin, line a bowl with a clean tea towel and tip in the goat's yoghurt. Add a pinch of salt and tie the corners of the tea towel together. Hang over the bowl and allow to strain for 1–2 days
For the pickled turnip, place the slices in a bowl and sprinkle over the salt. Cover with water and leave to brine for at least 1 hour. Drain and rinse, then pour the white wine vinegar over the slices and set aside until needed
Place the beetroot in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook for 45 minutes or until tender (this may take up to an hour), then drain and cool. Rub away the skins and cut into quarters and reserve until ready to serve
Meanwhile, make the purée. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the watercress. Cook for 20 seconds, then drain and run under cold water until completely cool
Squeeze out any excess moisture and place in a blender with a squeeze of lemon juice, a slosh of olive oil and salt and pepper. Blitz together until smooth
Make the dressing by whisking together the apple balsamic vinegar and oil with a little salt and pepper, or shaking in a jar, until emulsified
To serve, divide the watercress purée, goat's curd, beetroot and pickled turnip slices between plates. Scatter over some of the salad (or nasturtium) leaves and the chopped toasted hazelnuts, then drizzle with the dressing to finish
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