It’s not called Heatwave Salad because it can withstand the heat, but it certainly tastes good when the sun’s burning bright. This recipe was actually inspired by a meal my Mum had at The White Horse in Brancaster, North Norfolk.
I’m madly in love with pea shoots again this year – there’s no bitterness in them like some salad leaves, instead they’re so fresh, creamy and pea-like (funnily enough), they’re as delicate as a plate of fresh micro-shoots, best eaten fresh from the field.
Although a summer salad in part – it also has an autumnal twist (a bit like the weather of late) – and is beautifully light and crisp: The beetroot adds the needed meatiness while the goat’s cheese and avocado gives it a creamy, sweet flavour and the seeds add just a small and subtle crunch.
Serves two as a light supper or serves four as a side salad.
2 medium whole beetroots
200g babystem broccoli
1 bag of pea shoots (difficult to find but Sainsbury’s stock them)
100g frozen petit pois
100g of goat’s cheese
A large handful of red chard
A hand full of toasted sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon of toasted pine nuts
5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of local honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 clove of garlic
Sea salt and cracked pepper
1) Peel the beetroot (it’s very messy so make sure you’re wearing an apron or at least not wearing light coloured clothing because beetroot stains are a damn shame). Cut the peeled beetroot into small wedges, coat in some olive oil (and if you have some, add some thyme). Roast for about 25 – 30 minutes.
2) Make the dressing in a measuring jug. Grate the garlic into the jug and adding the salt and pepper, mix into a paste with the mustard and honey, slowly add the oil and then the vinegar. Season again if needed. Set to one side.
3) Steam your asparagus and broccoli (add the petit pois for the last 2 – 3 minutes of cooking). While that’s steaming away find a large serving plate and place the pea shoots and red chard on the plate. Cut the avocado into chunks and scatter on the pea shoot platter.
4) When the beetroot is cooked and slightly cooled, place on the platter along with the steamed broccoli, asparagus and peas. With your fingers, tear off small pieces of goat’s cheese and add to the platter. Now drizzle over the dressing onto the salad and sprinkle on toasted pine nuts and sunflower seeds.
Eat immediately in a heatwave! Ideally with a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
It’s also a lovely accompaniment to a dressed Cromer Crab (never serve a crab in the nude, it gets terribly embarrassed) – along with some boiled, minted new potatoes and a hard boiled egg, with a slightly runny middle.