I'm starting to get irritated by the adjectives and superlatives in the recipe titles in this book - unbelievable, the best, the ultimate. It occurs to me that this can't go on for too long in Jamie recipeland because the next version of a dish will have to become the ultimate, and the recipes will end up cancelling each other out. I am a bit of a pedant secretly and that sort of thing can start to get to me. Having said that, I'd never made a root vegetable salad before; the idea wouldn't have entered my head, to be honest. I am a lazy salad-preparer; I tend to make a mustardy French dressing for green leaves (I cannot abide those mixed salads that people used to serve up, with cucumber and watery tomatoes) or, if it's just me, I just mix balsamic vinegar with olive oil or else (in my laziest moments) I squeeze lemon juice over rocket leaves and call it a salad (try it - it isn't that bad). Anyway, I liked the look of this root veg salad, not least because it was pretty colourful - and also because it uses seasonal vegetables, which I can buy from the farm shop and thus allow me to sleep at night without worrying that Hugh F-W will come and attack me for unethical purchasing. I got round to this salad yesterday - it seemed like a good idea for lunch, with some more baked Italian cheese; I was working on the (erroneous?) assumption that all those vegetables would cancel out the effects of the cheese, plus the chocolate tart I made later on.
The salad can, basically, involve any mixture of seasonal vegetables you like; the suggested range for autumn/winter is celery, carrots, beetroot, radicchio, radishes, fennel. (For anyone interested, baby asparagus, broad beans or baby courgettes are suggested for spring and summer). Slice or shave beetroot and carrots (I used a speed peeler), slice celery heart and leaves, radishes, radicchio and fennel. Toss in a grilled chilli dressing (grill red chillies, peel and deseed, toss with extra virgin olive oil, mint, lemon juice and seasoning) and serve sprinkled with fennel tops.
It's a pretty tasty salad, with interesting textures and the possibility for variation according to taste. It is both light and yet substantial; it feels superhealthy but the flavour is better than 'superhealthy' implies. Definitely a salad that suits the season and should be repeated!