Beetroot and Toasted Peanut Salad by Carina Contini of Contini Restaurants in Edinburgh

People think of tomatoes as an Italian ingredient but they have a rich Scottish heritage, especially in the Clyde Valley. New-season home-grown tomatoes have a lovely green, slightly acidic flavour and a crisp texture and should be ready at the same time as the first new-season beetroot. Added to the sharpness of the Dunlop and the crunch of the toasted, honeyed peanuts, this is a really tasty, mouthwatering salad, worth waiting for.

CARINA CONTINI is one of Scotland’s best-known female chefs, and runs three Edinburgh restaurants with her husband Victor. They are Contini George Street, Cannonball Restaurant & Bar, and the Scottish Cafe at the Scottish National Gallery.
She is also the author of Carina Contini’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook: A Year Of Scots Italian Recipes.

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Ingredients: Serves 4

50g unsalted peanuts

salt

1 generous tsp heather honey

50g rocket leaves

2 purple beetroots, cooked and cut into quarters

150g new-season slightly under-ripe tomatoes

125g Dunlop or similar mature cow’s milk cheddar

handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

12 mint leaves

1 spring onion, finely sliced

50ml extra virgin olive oil

16 pansies or other edible flowers, to decorate

Method:

  1. Dry-roast the peanuts in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When they start to colour, add a pinch of salt and the honey. Cook for a few seconds. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. When cool, wrap them in a clean, dry tea towel and crush them coarsely with a rolling pin.
  2. Layer the rocket and beetroot on a large plate or platter. Quarter the tomatoes and scatter on top. Crumble the cheese over and sprinkle with the peanuts. Add the parsley, mint and spring onion.
  3. Dress with the olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Finally scatter with pansies and serve! 

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