Beetroot and black pudding salad (no bird)

You won’t find any decomposing bird carcasses in this salad recipe.

While you recover from that truly horrible thought, perhaps you can help me out. What exactly is the definition of a salad? The dictionary tells me that it is a cold dish that includes green leaves such as lettuce. This is clearly nonsense as I have had warm salads and salads without the tiniest speck of rabbit food on them. So what specification does a dish have to meet for it to be called a salad? Such things have the power to bother me.

This salad is really good as an autumn supper, full of earthy ingredients. Heck, some of my favourite ingredients of all. It’s very seldom my fridge doesn’t contain a ring of black pudding, a bunch of beetroot, a lump of goat cheese and there are always hazelnuts in the cupboard. Toss in a few pea shoots or watercress and this instantly becomes a healthy salad, of course.

Beetroot and black pudding salad

1-2 beetroot per person
50g goat cheese per person (your preference)
4-5 slices from a black pudding ring per person
8 or so whole hazelnuts per person
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or wine vinegar is fine)
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Handful of fresh parsley with a few mint leaves
  1. Pull any stalks and leaves off the beetroot but leave the skin on. Boil them in their skins for 30 minutes, or until you can easily shove a knife through one. Once drained, you should be able to rub the skins off and just chop the beetroot into bitesize chunks.
  2. Fry the black pudding rings in a little olive oil. I find a moderate heat and a longer time is a better, a bit of softness inside is good but the black crunchiness is really important to enjoying black pudding. Once a little cooler, you could chop each slice in half or quarters to be bite-sized.
  3. Roast the hazelnuts in the oven at 150C for about 10 minutes. I hesitate to give an exact time as ovens vary, but keep an eye on them – you want them to go golden brown where they show through the skin, not too dark. Once cool you should be able to rub the skin off, and then halve them.
  4. The dressing is made by beating the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and oil together to emulsify and then stir in the herbs finely chopped and season. Dress the beetroot and the pea shoots/watercress separately, or the red stain will spread!
  5. Assemble the salad however you like: beetroot, black pudding, cut or broken-up goat cheese, leaves, hazelnuts, a drizzle of dressing.

This could be the side-dish for a pan-fried mackerel, or an omelette. I like it as a supper, perhaps with a poached egg on top or with some boiled potatoes added to lengthen it all.

Adventures in salad

  • Pick different leafy stuff to balance the earthy flavours, but go for something with taste such as chicory or a herb salad. Rocket might be a tad strong.
  • I like the parsley with a lift of mint, but I also enjoyed this vinaigrette with fresh thyme and it could be great with sage as well.
  • Any number of other scrunchy things would work instead of hazelnuts: toasted pinenuts, walnut pieces, crutons.
  • Omit rabbit food entirely, add fine beans simply boiled instead.
  • Add a couple of rashers of smoked streaky, or some bits of chorizo lightly fried to give another meaty note
  • Do not under any circumstances try adding a decomposing bird to this salad.

I could go on forever. It almost feels cheeky to call this a recipe, when it’s really just a bunch of my favourite ingredients tossed together with a dressing! Enjoy.

5 pings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>