Raw vegetable ‘ravioli’ with goats’ cheese

Raw vegetable ‘ravioli’ with goats’ cheese

By
From
Modern British Food
Serves
6

Opening a restaurant in Italy, as I did a few years ago, you cannot help but be inspired by the brilliant food there, steeped in tradition and generations of knowledge. Our restaurant just happened to be in a clothes shop, with the kitchen in the changing room and washing up in the toilet hand sink. We had little equipment and no space, but we managed sixty customers a day, eight courses per person, and an awful lot of dishes flying out from behind the shrouded curtain.

It was a pop-up at a design fair, sadly only open for six days, desperately trying to help flog designer tables and chairs, and what better way to entice people to sit down and talk about the wonderful furniture than to feed them a ‘quick’ eight-course menu on the house. Great fun and high energy, too. It was my take on Italian food in an interesting and English way – or was it English food in an interesting and Italian way? I never could work that out.

This is the dish inspired by that trip. You really have to think of it as a goats’ cheese salad; ravioli it is not, by any stretch, but with a little imagination you might just see the threads of likeness.

Served with a chopped sweet and sour vinaigrette of golden raisins, capers and cranberries (known as agrodolce in Italy): not a traditional dish by any means, but fun, slightly familiar, wonderfully delicious and fresh.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

Raw vegetables (note)

Quantity Ingredient
1 large beetroot
1 large golden beetroot
1 kohlrabi
1 swede
250ml white wine vinegar
150ml water
2 pinches salt

Whipped goats’ cheese

Quantity Ingredient
300g goats’ cheese, (be it cheap and cheerful or posh and artisanal)
30ml milk

Sweet and sour dressing

Quantity Ingredient
50g dried cranberries or sultanas, finely chopped
50g dried golden raisins or apricots, finely chopped
50g tiny capers, whole, or large ones, finely chopped
50g shallots, finely chopped
10g chopped parsley
House dressing

Assembly

Quantity Ingredient
alfalfa sprouts
hazelnuts
edible flowers

Method

  1. Raw vegetables

    Peel and slice the vegetables very thinly using a mandoline, or failing that slice them very carefully and thinly with a knife. You could keep them in their natural sliced shape, or cut out shapes with a cookie cutter to make the pieces all the same size. You need two slices of each piece of veg per person – a total of eight slices per person.
  2. Place each of the different vegetables in their own bowl. They MUST be marinated separately so that they retain their own vibrant colour and don’t bleed into one another. Whisk together the vinegar, water and salt and pour over the vegetables, little by little, just covering them. If you want to get cheffy, put a little baking parchment over the vegetables to keep them submerged. Marinate the vegetables in the fridge for an hour or so, or perhaps overnight to make them a little more pliable and ‘ravioli’ like.
  3. Whipped goats’ cheese

    I like to peel furry goats’ cheese and perhaps keep the peelings for a boiled up goats’ cheese cream for a pasta or similar. Chop the cheese and whizz it in a food processor with a little milk until it becomes velvety and smooth. Place it in a bowl, or even better (and more professional), in a piping bag for easier application.
  4. Sweet and sour dressing

    Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and loosen with a little house dressing (or use your favourite dressing recipe) – beautifully colourful, sweet, sour and salty.
  5. Assembly

    Drain the coloured vegetable slices carefully and place on some kitchen towel. Put one slice of each coloured vegetable on each plate and pipe a little whipped goats’ cheese on top. Top with another slice of the same vegetable. Drizzle a little of the sweet and sour dressing around the mounds of ‘ravioli’, sprinkle with alfalfa sprouts, grate a little hazelnut over the top, and finish with a few edible flowers.

Note

  • In place of the vegetables used here, you could also use the golden or stripy (Chioggia) beetroot varieties, turnips, daikon or fancy large radishes you get in the season, butternut squash, courgette, cucumber or perhaps even lettuce or spinach leaves
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