Winter is the ideal time for a warm salad. This dish couldn’t get much more filling, and that is before you add any lamb. You don’t need much, think of it as complimentary rather than central. You could easily use a bit of leftover roast lamb instead, thinly sliced and quickly fried until crispy. Think of the dressing as a grown-up mint sauce, with plenty of briny depth from capers and anchovies – powerful but perfect.
3 medium beetroots
2 medium parsnips, cut into chunky batons
1 red onion, cut into wedges
150g black kale
1 handful of radicchio or chicory leaves, roughly torn
½ a small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 pear, very thinly sliced lengthways
30g toasted pine nuts
for the dressing:
1 tbsp capers, rinsed
2 small salted anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove
½ tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
small bunch of mint, chopped
small bunch of parsley, chopped
Put a kettle on to boil. Preheat oven to 200˚C/Gas 6.
Rinse the spelt in a sieve under cold running water. Tip it into a saucepan with a generous pinch of salt and cover with plenty of boiling water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 45 mins or until tender. When it is ready, drain and leave to cool a little as you get everything together.
While the spelt is cooking, give the beets a scrub, rub them with salt and oil and wrap each one in a little parcel of foil. Sit them in the roasting tray, transfer to the oven to roast for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, make the dressing by putting the garlic, capers, anchovies and mustard into a pestle and mortar and smashing them together into a paste. Add the vinegar, mint and parsley and continue to work everything together. Add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil a little at a time, until you have a spoonable dressing.
When the beetroots have had 20 minutes throw the parsnips and red onions into the tray too. Lightly oil and season them. Transfer the tray back into the oven cook for 30 minutes until the parsnips are nicely roasted and the beets are soft to a knife tip. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, strip the kale away from its stalks and tear it into bite-sized piece. Put it in a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Massage the leaves with your hands for a couple of minutes until the darken and soften. Add the radicchio, sliced fennel and pear to the bowl too.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, thumb the skins away and trim the tops. Cut them into wedges.
When you are ready to go, heat some oil in a frying pan and generously season the lamb. Sear it until nicely coloured on all sides and medium in the middle – about 3-4 minutes for 80g steaks. Remove them from the pan and leave to rest while you assemble everything.
Tip the warm spelt, beets, parsnips and onions into the mixing bowl of raw ingredients. Tumble them together well and them divide them between 2 plates. Thinly slice the lamb and tuck the slices amongst the veg. Scatter over the pine nuts before artistically spooning some dressing over the top.