I I love the Christmas indulgence: the special ingredients, the time you spend preparing them, decorating the tree and the table, and probably eating a lot of these delicious things. One of them, at my house, is this wonderful Christmas starter: fresh, light and wonderfully colorful.
Beetroot Celery With Smoked Trout
The sauce and vegetables can be prepared in advance and mixed just before serving.
to equip 25 minutes
serves 4 For a start
½ medium celery (about 300 grams), peeled
150 grams of beetrootpeeled
1 small apple
Juice and peel of a lemon
200 gm fresh cream, full fat
1-2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp horseradish, Or English mustard
A small bunch of soft herbs (for example, dill, parsley or chervil), the leaves are picked and finely chopped
1 tablespoon of capersfiltered, and finely chopped
zest 1 orange
gheeat room temperature
200 grams of smoked trout
rye breador sourdough
Use a julienne peeler or a sharp knife to chop the celery and beetroot into matchsticks. Place them in a bowl with enough water to cover and squeeze out the juice from half a lemon; Reserve the rest of the juice and peel for the sauce.
Whisk the fresh cream with the olive oil, mustard, horseradish and herbs. Grate in the zest of an orange and half a lemon and season to taste. The marinade needs to make a beautifully savory and fiery contrast to the root vegetables and smoked fish, so be generous with the spices and add more olive oil if you think they can be eaten.
Butter with butter and slice as thin as you dare (it’s easiest to grease the cut end of the loaf before slicing). You can do this in advance and cover it with a damp tea towel to prevent the bread from drying out.
Just before serving, drain the vegetables, place them in a tea towel, pat dry, and place in a bowl. Coarsely grate the apple into the vegetables, toss with the dressing, then stir in the capers. Taste one last time, preferably with a small piece of salted salmon, to double check the seasoning.
Either plate individually with pretty mounds of salad sprinkled with herbs, and thinly sliced trout, all seasoned with pepper and lemon juice, with buttered bread neatly arranged on the side, or place each ingredient on a separate plate to help people themselves.
To make this vegan side dish, serve it with a little crunchy rosti made with the other half of the celery, instead of the trout, and omit the crème fraiche and dress with more olive oil.
Fiona Beckett drinks match
Less than £10
Shh… it’s Riesling 2021 £6.25, 11.5%. Relatively dry for a Mosel Riesling, with an appealing hint of sweetness. Perfect for this type of dish.
Kerner Winery Kurtatasch Alto Adige 2021 £17.75 (or £15.75 in the case of the six) Haynes Hanson & Clark, 13.5%. A gorgeous, tangy Alpine white, with a beguilingly smoky character (Kerner is the grape variety).