Damien Pignolet's cauliflower, beetroot and celeriac salad with horseradish cream


  • Serves 6 people

  • 12-18 baby beetroot, scrubbed
  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 18-24 cherry tomatoes, halved lengthways
  • 1 small garlic clove, lightly smashed
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • A splash of aged red wine vinegar, such as Forum Cabernet vinegar
  • 1 head each red and white witlof (or 2 white witlof), outer leaves discarded
  • 3-4 tbsp freshly grated horseradish, or prepared horseradish, to taste
  • 125 gm (½ cup) crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ celeriac, peeled and cut into 3mm julienne strips
  • 1 bunch chives (optional), finely chopped
01   Preheat the oven to 160C. Wrap each beetroot in foil and bake until tender (30-35 minutes). Test for tenderness with a fine skewer; the skewer should almost fall through the beetroot. This will ensure they are cooked and their sweetness is fully developed. Cool for 5 minutes, then squeeze the foil gently to release the skin from each beetroot.
02   Soak the cauliflower in very cold water for 10 minutes, then cook in boiling salted water until still slightly crisp (2-3 minutes). Drain and refresh under cold running water, then drain well. Turn onto a clean dry tea towel to absorb any remaining water.
03   Place the tomato, garlic, thyme leaves and olive oil in a small shallow pan and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place over the lowest possible heat and allow the tomato to soften so that a little juice merges with the oil (10 minutes). The idea is to perfume the oil and barely soften the tomato, thus releasing more flavour. Transfer to a deep wide plate to cool, adding a little splash of vinegar to the oil, then adjust the seasoning to taste.
04   Cut 3cm-long tips from the witlof and reserve, then slice the remainder thinly, avoiding the core.
05   Combine the horseradish, crème fraîche and lemon juice in a small bowl and season to taste, then, adding a teaspoon of water at a time, dilute to a thickish pouring consistency.
06   Toss the cauliflower, celeriac and witlof with just enough dressing to coat them lightly and share between 6 deep entrée plates. Distribute the beetroot equally (if some are larger, cut them to match the smaller ones), then lightly coat with the horseradish dressing. Tuck the witlof tips here and there between the vegetables.
07   Distribute the tomato over the salads, then moisten the tomato and beetroot with some of the tomato poaching oil. Scatter with the chives, if using, and serve immediately.
Note Reproduced from Salades ($59.95, hbk) by Damien Pignolet, with photography by Anson Smart. Published by Lantern, an imprint of Penguin Books. Pignolet’s recipes have been reproduced with minor Gourmet Traveller style changes.

This recipe is from the September 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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