Spiced heirloom beetroots with Persian feta and nigella seeds crisps

This is a very modern take on fattoush, serving beetroot three ways with a Persian feta mousse. One of the beetroots are dressed with olive oil infused with cumin seeds, which is a method taught to me by my grandmother.

 

  SERVES  6  PREPARATION  30MIN  COOKING  40MIN  SKILL LEVEL  EASY  Ingredients    1  bunch baby beetroot   1 bunch golden baby beetroot   1  bunch Chioggia (target) baby beetroot (see Note)   ¼ cup cumin seeds, lightly crushed   150 ml olive oil   1 lemon, halved   1 extra-large beetroot   60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil   100 g Persian feta   100 ml pouring cream, whisked to soft peaks         Nigella lavosh    135 g  plain flour   5 g  baking powder   5 g  caster sugar   5 g  table salt   25 ml  olive oil   45 ml  water   50 g  nigella seeds   20 g  sea salt flakes   1  egg mixed with 50 ml water, for eggwash         Garnish    5 tbsp  pistachio kernels   60 ml  (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil   1  pinch sumac      Instructions   Chilling time:  30 minutes   For the lavosh,  place the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 185ºC and line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.  Divide the dough into 2 portions and roll out as thin as possible. Brush with the eggwash and sprinkle with the nigella seeds and salt.  Bake for 13 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, then break into pieces. Set aside.  For the baby beetroots, trim the leaves off, scrub and wash the beetroots well. Place each type of beetroot in a separate saucepan of water, bring to the simmer and cook for 40 minutes or until tender. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, peel off the skins (using gloves so your hands don’t stain. Cut in half and set aside.  Place 2 frying pans (one for the red baby beetroots and one for the golden ones) over medium-low heat. Divide the cumin between the two and lightly toast, then divide the olive oil between the two.  Add the beetroot to each pan and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, shave over some lemon zest and squeeze over some lemon juice. Set aside.  Reduce the temperature to 160ºC and roast the pistachios for 12 minutes or until toasted. Roughly chop and set aside.  For the large beetroot, peel the beetroot, thinly slice on a mandolin, then cut into julienne. Dress with the extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.  For the feta mousse, blend the feta to a smooth paste. Place feta paste in a bowl and fold in one-third of the whipped cream to loosen the paste, then fold in the remaining cream. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or until firmer.  To serve, arrange the two types of beetroot on the serving plates, top with the lavosh, spoon on some of the feta mousse, and garnish with the pistachios. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sumac to finish.      Chef’s notes   • Chioggia (target) baby beetroot are available from farmer’s markets and select greengrocers.      Photography, styling and food preparation by  China Squirrel . 

SERVES 6 PREPARATION 30MIN COOKING 40MIN SKILL LEVEL EASY

Ingredients 

1 bunch baby beetroot

1bunch golden baby beetroot

1 bunch Chioggia (target) baby beetroot (see Note)

¼ cupcumin seeds, lightly crushed

150 mlolive oil

1lemon, halved

1extra-large beetroot

60 ml(¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil

100 gPersian feta

100 mlpouring cream, whisked to soft peaks 

 

Nigella lavosh

135 g plain flour

5 g baking powder

5 g caster sugar

5 g table salt

25 ml olive oil

45 ml water

50 g nigella seeds

20 g sea salt flakes

1 egg mixed with 50 ml water, for eggwash 

 

Garnish

5 tbsp pistachio kernels

60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil

1 pinch sumac 

 

Instructions

Chilling time: 30 minutes

For the lavosh, place the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 185ºC and line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.

Divide the dough into 2 portions and roll out as thin as possible. Brush with the eggwash and sprinkle with the nigella seeds and salt.

Bake for 13 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, then break into pieces. Set aside.

For the baby beetroots, trim the leaves off, scrub and wash the beetroots well. Place each type of beetroot in a separate saucepan of water, bring to the simmer and cook for 40 minutes or until tender. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, peel off the skins (using gloves so your hands don’t stain. Cut in half and set aside.

Place 2 frying pans (one for the red baby beetroots and one for the golden ones) over medium-low heat. Divide the cumin between the two and lightly toast, then divide the olive oil between the two.

Add the beetroot to each pan and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, shave over some lemon zest and squeeze over some lemon juice. Set aside.

Reduce the temperature to 160ºC and roast the pistachios for 12 minutes or until toasted. Roughly chop and set aside.

For the large beetroot, peel the beetroot, thinly slice on a mandolin, then cut into julienne. Dress with the extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

For the feta mousse, blend the feta to a smooth paste. Place feta paste in a bowl and fold in one-third of the whipped cream to loosen the paste, then fold in the remaining cream. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or until firmer.

To serve, arrange the two types of beetroot on the serving plates, top with the lavosh, spoon on some of the feta mousse, and garnish with the pistachios. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sumac to finish.

 

Chef’s notes

• Chioggia (target) baby beetroot are available from farmer’s markets and select greengrocers.

 

Photography, styling and food preparation by China Squirrel

Jude Cohen