Salad with beetroot, toasted hazelnuts & Cashel Blue dressing

Small, sweet summer beetroot make for a perfect simple salad. Their earthy sweetness works well when balanced with the creamy, salty taste of Cashel Blue cheese. This salad has a much-needed crunch from toasted hazelnuts. If you desire, serve it with Cucumber Pickle.

First cook the beetroot. Wash the roots carefully under a cold tap. Do not scrub them – simply rub off any dirt with your fi ngers. You don’t want to damage the skin or to cut off the tops or tails, otherwise the beetroot will ‘bleed’ while cooking. Put the beetroot in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and continue to simmer for 30–45 minutes, depending on the size and age of your beetroot. They are cooked when their skins rub off easily, and a knife can be inserted easily into the centres. Peel the beetroot by rubbing off and discarding the skins. Then cut each beetroot into eight wedges.

To make the dressing, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice and honey in a bowl or jar, then add the blue cheese and taste, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Combine the beetroot and hazelnuts in a bowl, drizzle with three quarters of the dressing, season and toss.

Place the salad leaves on one big serving plate or divide among individual plates and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Scatter the beetroot and the hazelnuts over the leaves. Sprinkle over the grated lemon zest. If you desire, you can add four or fi ve slices of cucumber pickle per person.