Matt Moran: Baby vegetable salad with goat’s curd cigar


  • Serves 6 people

  • 100 gm hazelnuts
  • 2 bunches baby carrots, trimmed
  • 6 baby fennel bulbs
  • 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
  • ½ cauliflower, cut into florets
  • To serve: baby cress
  • Pickled baby beetroot
  • 300 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 bunches baby beetroot
  • Grape gel
  • 250 ml (1 cup) grape juice
  • ¼ tsp agar-agar (see note
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Hazelnut dressing
  • 40 gm honey
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed
  • 110 ml hazelnut oil
  • Goat’s curd cigar
  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil
  • 6 spring roll wrappers (see note)
  • 1 eggwhite, lightly beaten, for brushing
  • 100 gm goat’s curd
01   For pickled baby beetroot, combine all ingredients (except beetroot) in a saucepan with 1 litre of water and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add beetroot, return to heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender (10-15 minutes), then cool. Peel and halve beetroot, and set aside.
02   For grape gel, whisk juice and agar-agar in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, simmer for 2 minutes, cool, refrigerate until set (1 hour). Makes 250ml. Grape gel will keep refrigerated for 3 days. Before serving, purée with a hand-held blender and add vinegar to taste.
03   For hazelnut dressing, whisk honey, vinegar, mustard and garlic until combined, whisk in hazelnut oil, season to taste and set aside.
04   Preheat oven to 180C. Place hazelnuts on an oven tray and roast until golden (5-6 minutes). Cool, rub with a tea towel to remove skins, coarsely chop and set aside.
05   For goat’s curd cigar, heat oil to 180C in a deep-fryer or deep-sided frying pan. Lightly brush spring roll wrappers with eggwhite, then roll each wrapper around a 3cm-diameter metal cylinder to form a tube. Deep-fry cylinders in batches until crisp and golden (2-3 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit), and drain on absorbent paper. Cool, then carefully remove wrappers from cylinders. Just before serving, pipe goat’s curd into cylinders using a piping bag fitted with a 2cm plain nozzle.
06   Blanch carrots and fennel until just tender (3-5 minutes), then refresh. Blanch asparagus and cauliflower until just tender (1-2 minutes), refresh and set aside.
07   Lightly dress baby vegetables with hazelnut dressing. Place a few dots of grape gel on each plate, arrange vegetables and beetroot over, top with cigar, scatter over hazelnuts and cress, drizzle with extra dressing and serve.
Note Agar-agar is a setting agent derived from seaweed and is available from health-food shops. Spring roll wrappers are available from select delicatessens and Asian grocers.

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







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