I must admit that I did not have high hopes of this dish – but it is sublime! And, as importantly, pretty much easy peasy to put together.
The beets arrived in our veg box so I felt obliged not to let them wither away into a wrinkled mush until they guiltily chucked out, as could so easily happen. I know you can roast beets in their skin but I prefer the crispy, slightly fried edges that you get from peeling them before roasting.
It all just really works with the lemony beans and the slightly goaty halloumi, plus the peppery rocket.
Beetroots, Olive oil
I peeled them then quartered them (or more than quartered the big ones – main thing is to make sure they are all the same size). Oil them in a bowl and use your hands to make sure they are all fully coated. Salt and pepper liberally then put them in a baking tray and roast at 180 degrees for longer than you’d expect – at least an hour – but use a fork to see if they are done or not (think potatoes). You could also put in some herbs – oregano, say, or thyme – but I just did them neat. When they are ready, let them cool a bit then arrange artfully on a bed of rocket, which you can dress with some extra virgin oil and white wine vinegar.
The main thing to say about halloumi – other than when I first saw someone cooking it I couldn’t actually believe they were frying cheese! I have totally got over this mental hurdle now and have it at least once a week – is that it is really SO much better if you actually go the whole hog and fry it in oil – I use olive but ground nut or vegetable or probably even coconut oil would work too. I used to dry fry it but when you introduce some oil into the equation it just radically improves the taste, texture and overall eating experience (because if you are going to eat fried cheese, you may as well make it as delicious as it can be).
White bean mash
As I may already have mentioned, I am currently eating these beans about three times a week at the moment as a) they go with everything b) they really fill you up which instantly reduces the hard-done-by factor that often goes hand in hand with carb deprivation and c) they are super quick plus d) completely darn delicious!
Posh haricot beans (ie in a jar rather than a tin),
A lemon for juice and zest
Oil for cooking and dressing
- Pour some olive oil – quite a lot – into a deep frying pan and add some sprigs of thyme or lemon thyme then heat gently to flavour the oil.
- Roll an unwaxed lemon on a hard surface with the palm of your hand a few times then zest the skin and cut it lengthways (all of which yields more juice).
- Drain some haricot beans – ideally a jar of posh Spanish ones, which cost three times as much as a tin but are three times as nice, although tins work too for this – in a sieve and rinse. Remove the thyme from the oil then add the beans along with a clove or two of crushed garlic plus the lemon zest and the juice, which I just squeeze straight in through the sieve, to catch any pips.
- Heat the beans through then mash with a potato masher and add a glug or two of extra virgin oil then salt and pepper to taste. Oh my god – so easy and SO DELICIOUS!