There was a wonderful Yotam Ottolenghi recipe in last weekend’s Observer Food Monthly which used za’atar, a seasoning mix I hadn’t tried before, but immediately bought because it sounded so good. It’s a middle eastern mix of toasted sesame seeds, thyme, sumac and salt. I decided to make a winter salad this evening and use it as part of the seasoning.
I’ve been on a bit of a healthy winter salad run over the last few days, perhaps with the thought of a weekend of Christmas overindulgence to come. But I like winter salads: not only standards like a traditional white cabbage and carrot coleslaw (which when home-made is very good indeed) but mixing a variety of root vegetables. Most can be eaten raw and made into a delicious crunchy salad. For the one I’ve made today I was led by what was in my fridge: some beetroots, carrots and half a celeriac. I aimed to have roughly the same amount of each vegetable and used a medium-sized beetroot, quarter of a celeriac and a couple of medium-sized carrots.
Peel the vegetables and coarsely grate into a bowl. Made a dressing with some olive oil, fresh lemon juice and runny honey. Use about three times the amount of oil to lemon juice and about a teaspoon of honey. Add salt and pepper, whisk with a fork and taste to check it’s how you like it. Mix the dressing and grated vegetables well then transfer to a serving dish. Now drizzle over a little extra fruity extra virgin olive oil, then scatter over a heaped teaspoon of za’atar and some chopped fresh parsley and mint.
For a snack, you might want to eat it just on its own but you could serve with other middle eastern things like hummous and tabbouleh, or maybe some cold meats, leftover Christmas turkey, or griddled chicken breast seasoned with harissa.