This is the type of salad that yells "SPRING IS HERE!" right in your face. In a good way. Provided you don't get overexcited and mix it all too vigorously and get beetroot juice everywhere, it is a beautiful, tasty and healthy salad.
It contains a few of those ingredients that people aren't really sure what to do with a lot of the time - fennel, beetroot, preserved lemon - but this is such a great way to throw it all together and impress. So easy and so fresh. So fresh and so clean clean. It even passed the man test.
Beetroot, fennel, mint & feta salad
Taken from House & Garden food section (I know, you should check it out)
Kitchen Stuff: Roasting tin, large bowl
Quantities: Serves 6 as a side
Timings: 1 1/2 hours (with beetroot roasting)
900g raw beetroot
2 tsp honey
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
9 tablespoons (135ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads fennel
1 bunch chives, roughly snipped
2 handfuls fresh mint leaves, roughly sliced
3 preserved lemons
300g barrel-cured feta, crumbled
1. BEETROOT ROASTING: Heat the oven to 200°C. Wash the beetroot and pat dry on kitchen paper. Trim the root at the base of the beetroot and cut the stems to about 2cm. Place in a single layer on a large sheet of foil, then fold up the edges and tightly fold over to make a large, baggy foil parcel. Bake for 1 1/4 hours or until the beetroot is tender when pierced with a knife. Leave until cool.
2. I SAW THE SALAD DRESSING: In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. LEMON & FENNEL: Trim the base and top of the fennel and halve it. Slice as finely as you can into fans and place in a large mixing bowl with the chives and mint. Halve the preserved lemons lengthways and finely slice into half moons. Discard the seeds and add the lemon slices to the fennel. Toss in half the lemon-honey dressing, then crumble in the feta.
4. BEETROOT SLICING: Peel and quarter the beetroot. Medium-finely slice each quarter and place in a separate mixing bowl. Toss in the remainder of the dressing and season to taste.
5. SERVE: If your beetroot is not deep red, you can gently mix the two salads together and divide between six plates in pretty, airy piles. If the beetroot is red, plate the fennel salad first then slip in the red beetroot. You can see I didn't do that. Serve immediately.