Roast Vegetable Salad w. Smoked Feta.

These rainy winter weekends have seen us huddled indoors with friends. Spending Sundays cooking the morning away and then sitting down for a much deserved long lunch with good company. Taking a batch of fresh cookies from the oven to chow down with tea afterwards and great conversations that run into the evening. This is winter at its best and this salad recipe is the cherry on the top.
This salad is super substantial and absolutely packed with delicious flavours. Coupled with a fresh seedy bread, you are in for a totally wicked lunch.
A few things to prepare in the morning:
Smoked Feta
• pot with steamer insert and lid
• 2 Tbsp brown sugar
• 2 Tbsp Za’atar Spice Mix
• 125g Danish feta
Line pot with tinfoil. Place Za’atar & brown sugar in the centre of the foil and mix together.
Place steamer insert in the pot, making sure the insert is not touching the spice in the pot (allowing space for the smoke to rise).
Cut the feta into 1 inch cubes and place in the steamer basket. Cover with lid.
Smoke on medium heat until cheese begins to brown slightly. This should take 10-15 minutes.
Recipe from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem
• 70g hazelnuts
• 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
• 1 tsp fennel seeds
• 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
• 1 Tbsp dried green (or white) peppercorns
• 3 Tbsp coriander seeds
• 1 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds
• 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
• 1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt
• 1 tsp sweet paprika
Preheat the over to 160°C.
Roast the hazelnuts on a lined baking tray in the oven for 20 minutes.
Roast the sunflower seeds on a lined baking tray in the over for 10 minutes.
In a heavy based frying pan on medium heat dry roast fennel seeds for 30 seconds. Add cumin seeds and roast for another 30 seconds until they start to pop. Transfer to a little bowl.
Dry roast the peppercorns until they start to pop & transfer to a separate bowl.
Cook the coriander seeds for up to a minute till they start to pop & keep separate.
Reduce the heat to low and cook the sesame and nigella seeds together until the sesame begins to turn light brown.
Rub the hazelnuts between the palms of your hands to remove some of the skin. Use a mortar and pestle to lightly crush the hazelnuts & transfer to a medium bowl.
Lightly crush the cumin and fennel seeds and add to the hazelnuts.
Lightly crush the coriander seeds, followed by the peppercorns and sunflower seeds & add to the bowl. Add sesame seeds, nigella seeds, salt and paprika & mix well.
Store the dukkah in an airtight container for up to a month and in the freezer for up to 3.
Tahini Dressing
• 3 heaped Tbsp tahini paste
• juice of 1/2 lemon
• 2 cloves garlic
• salt
Place tahini paste in a bowl and slowly drizzle in cold water (while mixing) until the colour lightens and the consistency loosens. Add lemon juice and continue to stir (if the mixture becomes too watery you can add some more tahini to thicken it).
Blitz garlic with 1/4 cup water in a food processor. Strain through a sieve and add the garlic water to the tahini dressing. Season with fine salt.
Roast vegetable salad
Serves 4
• 3 thin baby eggplants
• 1 red capsicum
• 3 zucchini, sliced lengthways 5mm thick
• 1 cup cauliflower florets
• 1 bag mixed greens (spinach and rocket mix)
• 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
• 1 tsp maldon sea salt
• rice bran oil
Char the skin of the eggplants and capsicum on a barbecue or gas stove top. Cook them until the skin is completely blackened (and flaking off slightly on the eggplant) and the vegetables have softened. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film and allow to cool. Once cool, peel off the skin of the eggplant and remove the soft flesh. Peel the capsicum and remove the seeds. Place the eggplant flesh and capsicum in a bowl, coat with extra virgin olive oil and mix in garlic and salt.
Steam cauliflower florets for 5 minutes or until slightly softened.
Lightly brush zucchini slices with rice bran oil and cook on a griddle pan or bbq till charred and cooked through. Cook the cauliflower florets on the oiled griddle/bbq till char marks appear. Add the zucchini and cauliflower to the bowl of oiled vegetables.
To assemble the salad use a wide, deep bowl and lay greens over the base. Remove vegetables from the oil and scatter them over the greens. Add a couple of tablespoons of the oil marinade over the vegetables. Add smoked cheese. Drizzle over tahini dressing liberally and sprinkle with dukkah.
And if you are looking for a good cookie to have on hand to bake out, I highly recommend this perfect ginger cookie by David Lebovitz.

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