When I read this months No Croutons Required Challenge had to feature the allium family. I was quite excited as I don't often eat the allium as the focus of a dish. Its normally part of the sauce base or just as a garnish, so this really was a challenge. We could choose from onions, leeks, spring onions, garlic, chives and even wild garlic, but I decided to go with some British grown Echalion shallots which are quite long. Then the question was should it be a soup or a salad. Well with the sun shine hanging about. I went for the salad option.
This is not an everyday salad (thank goodness). I can't imagine me eating this at home that often. Its the kind of salad you'd find on a restaurant menu.
These long shallots are roasted with balsamic vinegar for an intensely sweet-sour flavour. The shallots partnered well with the sweetness of the apricots and twang of the cheese. You could also taste a hint of the rosemary (from my garden) in the background. All in all it was a generous salad, but not one I would make in a hurry at home as you do need to marinade the cheese overnight. This is definitely restaurant style food, not homely for this home girl!
I better hurry and put my cyber skates on as I am pushing it with the deadline which is right now. I may have to grovel to Jacqueline, she will be well within her right to say 'sorry mangocheeks, its just to late to be included', but I can just try. So I better go and submit it to Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes right now. Jacqueline alternately hosts No Croutons Required with Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen. Its a wonderful event where participants are encouraged to submit either a vegetarian soup or a salad. I'd encourage you to participate, if you haven't already. Just for the fun, plus its a great way to 'mingle' with other fellow bloggers.
Roasted shallot and apricot salad with goats cheese
1 goats cheese, halved cross ways
200g shallots, peeled
50ml balsamic vinegar
100g small beetroots, cooked and cut in wedges
For the marinade
100ml olive oil
1 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing
50ml orange juice or juice from 1 lemon
50g dried apricots, soaked in water for 2 hours and sliced
1 teaspoon walnuts, roughly chopped
For the marinade: combine the ingredients in a bowl. Place the goats cheeses in a shallow dish and pour over the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The following day, place the shallots in a roasting tin. Pour the marinade from the cheese over the shallots, set aside the cheese and cover. Stir om the balsamic vinegar. Bake at gas mark 6 for 45 minutes until the shallots are tender. Strain the juices left in the tin and reserve. Add the beetroot to the shallots and return tot the oven to keep warm.
Blend together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and add the strained juices from the shallots. Place the cheese on a baking sheet under a hot grill to warm through slightly, but do not let them melt. Place one portion of cheese on each plate and surround with the beetroot and shallots. Pour the dressing around the cheese and vegetables. Serve at room temperature. Adapted from Paul Gaylers Vegetarian Cookbook