Salt-baked root vegetables with labneh
- January 2018
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 45 min, Oven time 1 hour, plus at least 1½ hours draining
Cooking with salt in this way ensures that the vegetables are cooked evenly and gently, and will yield a beautifully soft texture once cooked. The labneh is topped with a za’atar pesto for a kick of fresh flavour – perfect for dipping!
- 25.4g (8g saturated)
- 16.3g (12.9g sugars)
- 550g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust
- 175g fine sea salt, plus ½ tsp
- 3 free-range egg whites
- 1kg-1.2kg unpeeled assorted root vegetables (we used a mix of heritage carrots, beetroot and swede quarters)
- Flatbreads to serve
For the labneh:
- 500g thick full-fat greek yogurt (we used Total)
- 1 tsp lemon juice for the za’atar pesto
- 50g shelled pistachios
- Small pack fresh coriander
- A few fresh mint sprigs, leaves picked
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp za’atar spice blend
- First make the labneh: mix the greek yogurt with the lemon juice and ½ tsp sea salt, then spoon into a sieve lined with muslin (or a clean J-cloth) set over a bowl. Fold the muslin/cloth over the top of the yogurt to cover and set aside to drain for at least 1½ hours. When ready to serve, squeeze out as much liquid from the thickened yogurt as possible.
- Mix the flour and 175g salt in a large bowl. Add the egg whites and 200ml cold water and quickly mix to form a dough (if it’s too stiff, add a little extra water). Knead in the bowl for a minute or so, form a smooth ball, then flatten into a disc. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1cm. Put each vegetable on the dough and cut out shapes about 2½ times the size of each vegetable. Using your hands, wrap the dough around each vegetable and press the edges together to seal. Use a little water on the end of your finger as glue if necessary.
- Put the dough-wrapped veg on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 1 hour until the dough is hard and the veg inside are tender (test with a skewer).
- Meanwhile, make the za’atar pesto. Finely chop the pistachios, coriander and mint, then put in a bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, olive oil and za’atar, then season to taste.
- Once the veg are cooked, slice open the salt crust and discard the tops. Serve the veg in the crust (don’t eat) on a board with the flatbreads and labneh, topped with the za’atar pesto.
Whisk unused egg yolks with a pinch of salt or sugar and store in labelled bags in the freezer to use in other (savoury or sweet) dishes. If you have large root vegetables such as swedes and turnips, halve or quarter them so they cook in time.
Make the labneh and pesto, and bake the vegetables up to 24 hours in advance. Cover and chill.
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