root salad with sumac yoghurt dressing
This is a seasonal dish, a root salad with segments of blood orange and a sumac yoghurt dressing. Salads don’t just have to be made with cucumbers and tomatoes. It is sense to use what’s to hand – root veg at this time of year. Our veg box had a celeriac, our fridge a useful kohlrabi (German turnip), and we found two small soft beetroots that had missed the boat for roasting. Borrowing a recipe from Tender by Nigel Slater, we scattered in some Lebanese sumac, giving each mouthful more citrus zing.
Sumac is used a lot in salads in Lebanon. In mountainous areas where lemons don’t grow, these berries grow wild. Preserving them is part of the culinary heritage of Lebanon. Sumac is an essential ingredient in Lebanese “mouneh”, foods that are preserved in rural areas. A spice added for its acidity.
Using seasonal produce is a trait of any Lebanese household. Celeriac and beetroot, while delicious cooked, when grated create different textures. Mandolin sliced kohlrabi marinated in thin slivers of blood orange, spiked with capers is a salad in itself. But here it forms the foundations of this beautiful rainbow. A handful of parsley, while not essential, provides the green we often expect in a salad and vitamins A, K and C. Drench the salad with Zejd’s extra virgin olive oil, for those polyphenols we need. When mixed with salt and lemon juice, marvel at how the EVOO emulsifies into a thick dressing as you whisk.
enough for 4
1/2 kohlrabi, sliced very finely, on a mandolin if you have one
a blood orange, segmented
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon of capers
70ml Zejd extra virgin olive oil
2 small beetroot, peeled and grated
200g piece of celeriac, peeled and grated
a handful of parsley leaves (optional)
for the dressing
2 tablespoons of Zejd extra virgin olive oil
garlic, 1 small clove, crushed
1 tablespoon of sumac and some extra for scattering.
- Peel half a kohlrabi, and using a mandolin, slice it finely. If you don’t have one, slice it as thin as you can. Place the pieces on each plate.
- Peel and segment the blood orange, arranging the slivers on top of the kohlrabi.
- In a bowl, add a pinch of salt to the lemon juice, and whisk in Zejd’s extra virgin olive oil. Stir in the capers, and pour over the kohlrabi.
- Peel and coarsely grate the celeriac and beetroots into a bowl. Add in the handful of parsley leaves, if using, and mix with your hands to distribute the colour.
- Add the crushed garlic to another bowl containing the yoghurt and a pinch of salt. Pour in the EVOO and stir in the sumac.
- Pile a handful of the grated root veg onto each plate. Either serve with the sumac yoghurt dressing in a bowl alongside, or add a generous dollop onto each plate. To finish the plate, scatter some sumac on top just before eating.
This makes a wonderful winter salad to go with a cheese board or some smoked mackerel for an easy weekend lunch.