Beetroot, Rhubarb and Salted Ricotta Salad with Moscatel Vinegar
Moscatel Vinegar has notes of flowers and citrus with a delicate honeyed sweetness and its these flavours that really bring this salad alive, contrasting with beetroot’s earthiness and accentuating rhubarb’s sour tang. If you cant get hold of salted ricotta other salty cheeses like feta or halloumi would work as well.
- Wash and peel the beetroots (it’s a good idea to wear gloves to avoid staining your hands), then use a mandolin to slice very thinly. If you don’t have a mandolin, you can use a peeler to give long thin ribbons. Place in a colander with a bowl underneath and sprinkle a good few pinches of salt on top, then toss through to coat. Leave for at least 20 minutes to allow the salt to extract water from the beetroot.
- Heat an oven to 150C. When hot, spread the pine nuts on a tray and roast for 5-7 minutes, keeping your eye on them, as they colour very quickly. They should be a very light golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
- Wash the rhubarb and slice very thinly at an angle. Place in a small bowl, sprinkle with a little salt, a scant 1/4tsp of Moscatel Vinegar and mix through.
- Use a peeler or the side of a grater with a single blade to slice the ricotta into broad strips. Strip the leaves from the tarragon stalks (the stalk can be kept and used to flavour vinegars or stocks)
- When ready to assemble the salad, remove the beetroot from the colander and place in clean bowl, shaking off any excess liquid. Add the remaining Moscatel Vinegar, a little salt and a good crack of black pepper then mix and taste. It might need more salt, so add a little, mix and taste again until you’re happy. Add the olive oil and mix again. Divide the beetroot between plates, spreading the pieces out so that there is some variation in height, followed by the rhubarb, ricotta, pine nuts and then tarragon.