Beetroot, Orange and Hazelnut Salad

In Chicory Leaves with Fromage Frais

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • makes

    12

Appears in

Salads

Salads

By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

  • About

The leaves of chicory (also called whitlo of or witloof), like those of Baby Little Gem, were made to be canapé vessels, as they have a natural hollow. You may like to make a platter up using alternating red and green chicory for a lovely effect.

You can use pre-cooked beetroot to save time, but beets you cook yourself will be much nicer When they’re in season, use golden or striped beets, and even blood oranges, for a different look.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beetroot (the size of a tomato)
  • 1 large orange
  • juice of 1 large juicy lemon
  • 24 skinned hazelnuts, toasted until golden
  • 1 tablespoon lemon-flavoured extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fromage frais
  • 12 chicory leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas 6. Wash the beetroot skins without tearing them, then wrap them tightly in a piece of foil, making sure there isn’t a tear in it, as this will let out the steam. Bake on a tray for 60–80 minutes until you can insert a sharp knife through the foil and into the centre of the beets. Leave to cool completely. Remove the foil and, wearing gloves, rub (or peel) the skin off. Cut the beets into 1 cm dice and put in a bowl.

Finely grate 1 teaspoon of zest from the orange and put this in another bowl, then segment the orange, cut each segment into quarters, and add to the bowl of orange zest together with the lemon juice.

Flatten the nuts with the side of a large knife to crush them a little and mix these and the olive oil into the orange mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the fromage frais between the chicory leaves and spoon in the orange salad, then add the beetroot dice, leaving any beetroot juice behind as it won’t look good dribbling down your chin and on to your best shirt. Sprinkle with the chives.