Pickled beetroot and heirloom carrot salad


  • Serves 4 people

  • 200 gm (1 cup) small green lentils
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 golden shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of caster sugar, or to taste
  • 1 bunch Dutch carrots, scrubbed
  • ½ cup (firmly packed) each flat-leaf parsley and dill
  • For drizzling: extra-virgin olive oil
  • To serve: blood-plum vinegar(see note)
  • Labne
  • 1 tsp each cumin seeds and caraway seeds
  • 250 gm thick Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of caster sugar
  • Pickled beetroot
  • 4 large beetroot (about 150gm each), scrubbed
  • 500 ml (2 cups) white wine vinegar
  • 220 gm (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 3 cloves
01   For labne, dry-roast seeds until fragrant (30 seconds). Combine with remaining ingredients, transfer to a fine sieve lined with muslin and refrigerate to drain overnight (discard liquid).
02   Meanwhile, for pickled beetroot, combine ingredients and 1 litre water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Bring to the simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer until beetroot are tender (1-1½ hours). Remove from liquid (reserve liquid), cool, then peel. Cut into wedges and return to cooking liquid until required.
03   Meanwhile, combine lentils in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover generously, bring to the boil, then drain and return to saucepan. Cover with cold water and simmer over low heat until just tender (12-15 minutes), then drain (reserve 80ml cooking liquid) and transfer to a bowl.
04   Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add shallot, garlic and cumin, sauté until tender (5-6 minutes), then add to lentils with reserved cooking liquid, add a pinch of sugar to taste, season to taste and set aside.
05   Cook carrots in a saucepan of boiling salted water until tender (3-4 minutes), drain, refresh and drain again. Combine in a bowl with oil and sugar to taste, season to taste and set aside.
06   Scatter lentil mixture, carrots and beetroot wedges over a serving platter, then scatter with herbs and labne. Drizzle with blood-plum vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, season to taste and serve.
Note Blood-plum vinegar is available from select delicatessens. If it’s unavailable, substitute a good-quality sherry vinegar.

This recipe is from the December 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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