Ditch the limp mesclun and supermarket dressing: this is a salad that doesn’t muck around.
This salad is a riff on an Ottolenghi recipe and is a wonderful combination of sweet and sour, crunchy and creamy. And what’s more, it gives silverbeet a whole new lease on life as it’s finely shredded and used as the base of the salad (rather than being cooked to within an inch of its life!). A word of caution, however, silverbeet contains oxalic acid so choose young leaves for salads and eat raw only in moderation.
HAZELNUT, BLUE CHEESE & SILVERBEET SALAD
- ½ red onion, halved, thinly sliced
- 12 dates, quartered lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus extra to drizzle
- 75g (⅔ cup) hazelnuts
- 10 smaller silverbeet leaves, finely shredded
- 85g blue cheese, crumbled
- extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
Put the red onion and dates in a small bowl, pour over the red wine vinegar, stir and set aside.
In a heavy-bottomed frying pan over a medium-high heat, toast the hazelnuts until golden brown. To remove the skins, you can either turn the hazelnuts out into a tea towel, fold over and use to rub the nuts so the skins come loose. Otherwise, I sometimes leave the nuts in the frying pan, take it outside and give it a shake – if it’s a windy day, the skins will blow away (or you can blow on them!).
Once cool, roughly chop the nuts and set aside.
Put the shredded silverbeet in a salad bowl, scatter the onion/date mixture over the top, followed by the blue cheese and then finally the hazelnuts. Drizzle with some extra red wine vinegar and a good slosh of olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper then serve.