Salt-baked beetroot with whipped ricotta, apple and hazelnut

(5.00)

Salt-baking beetroot perfectly seasons the root vegetable in this stunning autumnal salad recipe. Paired with creamy whipped ricotta, sweet apple and crunchy hazelnuts, it also makes the most of beetroot leaves – an ingredient that all too often ends up in the bin.

First published in 2019

Salt-baking can seem a little unnecessary – why go to all that trouble why you can just roast something and season it anyway? When it comes to beetroot, however, baking it inside a salt dough really does coax the best out of this root vegetable, giving it a delightful complexity that sits on the fence between sweet and savoury.

The interesting thing about this salad is that with slightly different treatment, these ingredients could easily become a dessert. As long as you have a few hours in the day, this is a simple, delicious way to get something colourful on the dinner table.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Salt-baked beetroot

Garnish

Method

1
Preheat an oven to 160ºC/gas mark 3
2
In a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt and egg whites, then add the lemon thyme leaves and water and mix into a dough. Bring the dough together with your hands, then roll out to a centimetre thick on a work surface
3
Lay the beetroots in the middle of the dough, then pull the dough up around the beetroots, sealing at the top to form a parcel
4
Bake the beetroots for two-and-a-half hours in the oven, then remove the dough and allow to cool to room temperature
5
Slice the apple into matchsticks and keep in cold water with a little lemon juice squeezed in – this helps to crisp up the apple and stops it from discolouring. Put the ricotta in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar and beat it with a wooden spoon to aerate and loosen it up
6
When the beetroot dough has cooled, break it open and remove the beetroots. Peel them carefully with a knife and slice them into chunks
7
Spread the whipped ricotta over a platter and top with the beetroots. Scatter over the apple, a few more lemon thyme leaves and some crushed hazelnuts. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and arrange the reserved beetroot leaves over the top

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