Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Beetroot, kohlrabi, carrot and apple slaw with labneh

A few years ago for Christmas I got a mandoline. Not the musical instrument but the kitchen gadget that thinly slices vegetables with razor sharp metal blades. I was a little afraid of it to be honest, so it sat in the drawer til today, when I was motivated to use it by a recipe in Hetty McKinnon's new cookbook Neighbourhood (which is so good I've bought it for two friends' birthdays since it came out in September). I have to say the word "slaw" conjures visions of limp cabbage coated in mayonnaise. A white on white nightmare. But this! This is different. Vibrantly-hued vegetables (plus one piece of fruit) sliced super-fine, doused in sharp/sweet vinegar, offset with liberal dollops of creamy labneh and scattered with crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds. It's bright and beautiful and suitably spring-y. A big reward for a small act of kitchen bravery.

Beetroot, kohlrabi, carrot and apple slaw with labneh
Adapted from Hetty McKinnon's Neighbourhood

Just be warned, you'll have to start this recipe a day before to make the labneh, which is nothing more complex really than pouring some Greek yoghurt into a cloth over a colander and leaving it to drain in the fridge. If you can't lay your hands on kohlrabi, then Hetty suggests zucchini as a substitute. And if you don't have a mandoline, or are too terrified of slicing your fingers off to contemplate using one, don't be deterred - a box grater would do the job.

1 kohlrabi (about 350g), peeled
2 beetroot (about 350g), peeled
2 carrots (about 350g), peeled
2 apples (about 500g), peeled
1/2 cup mint leaves (chopped if large)
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (pepitas), roasted

500g Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove, grated
sea salt and black pepper

juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or rice vinegar)
2 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar
sea salt

The day before you want to eat the salad, you'll need to make the labneh: 

Line a colander or sieve with muslin, cheese cloth or a piece of thin cotton sheet. Combine the yoghurt and garlic together with a pinch of salt and pepper, spoon it into the muslin and gather overhang together, trapping the mixture into a ball. Secure tightly with an elastic band or tie. Give the bundle a good squeeze over the sink, then put back in the colander. Sit colander over a bowl and let sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours. During this time, the yoghurt will lose its excess moisture, resulting in a firmer mixture, a bit like cream cheese. If you can, squeeze out any excess liquid in this time to help speed this process along.

To make the dressing, combine ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer and stir til the sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside.

With a mandoline, food processor or box grater, shave or grate the vegetables and apple into thin strips (leaving apple til last as it will brown).

Place shredded fruit and vegetables into a large bowl, and douse with warm dressing. Add herbs, season with salt and pepper and gently toss to combine. To serve, dot with dollops of labneh and scatter with pumpkin seeds.

1 comment:

  1. I love my mandoline but you need to take care I've had a few nasty accidents when I've been too slack to use the protector.