Carpaccio of Beetroot with Labneh
I have an allotment. This basically means that I spend three months of the year with more vegetables than I know what to do with and the other nine months weeding. But I love it. The feeling of picking something you’ve grown and deciding how to cook and eat it in a way that acknowledges all the hard work you've put into it is truly joyful.
Many of my meals in the peak allotment months consist solely of vegetables. Occasionally (OK, rarely) my family is happy with this, other times they beg for baked beans on toast. “No more vegetables today, I can’t take anymore!”.
This recipe however is a good one, whether you have an allotment or not. It’s substantial enough for lunch if you add a decent bread (Wooster’s Bakery sprouted rye sourdough or vollkornbrot would be my choice). But it's equally good as an accompaniment to other dishes, maybe some barbequed mackerel or salmon, or shoulder of pork that has cooked very slowly in the oven for the best part of a day.
The labneh needs to be started the day before as it strains overnight. If you want to pass on that, you can instead use a good quality Greek yogurt dolloped straight on to the beetroot.
500g pot of Greek yogurt (traditionally made with full fat, but I have successfully made with fat free yogurt too)
½ tsp salt
Zest of 1 lemon
4 large or 6 medium raw beetroot (looks really pretty if you can get hold of golden beet to mix in with the purple)
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil (or olive oil)
Labneh that you have made the day before, or 170g pot of Greek yogurt
Za’atar and fresh or dried oregano to sprinkle over
At least the day before you want to eat the carpaccio, make the labneh. Mix ½ tsp salt and the finely grated zest of a lemon into a 500g pot of yogurt.
Tip the yogurt into a muslin cloth, straining bag, or a new j-cloth or similar. Twist the top of the cloth, pop it into a sieve and weigh it down using a plate with a can on top. Put a bowl underneath to catch all the liquid that will come out.
Place in the fridge overnight.
The next day, the yogurt in the cloth will have firmed up to a beautifully light soft cheese. This will keep in a sealed container for up to two weeks.
Peel and very thinly slice the beetroot. The best way to slice them thinly enough is with a mandolin (use the guard!). If you don’t have a mandolin, you can use a swivel peeler. The slices won’t be such a nice shape but will taste just as good.
Place the sliced beetroot in a shallow dish and cover with 3tbsp of the Yaffle House Blackberry Vinegar. Leave for 20 minutes.
Shake or whisk the remaining 1tbsp vinegar with the salt, mustard, and oil.
Arrange the beetroot on a serving dish and tip over the vinegar in which they have been macerating.
Drop spoonfuls of the labneh (or the Greek yogurt) over the beetroot.
Drizzle with the dressing and finish with a sprinkle of za’atar and oregano.