A blanket on the floor, a spread of mismatching nibbles and treats, and a chilled glass of wine…all in the comfort (and warmth) of your own home – the indoor picnic is the ultimate in faux al fresco dining. It’s a bit like watching outdoor tennis on Centre Court at Wimbledon with the roof closed. Whatever works, I say. Although probably not suitable if you can’t sit with your legs crossed for any length of time (no offence to any of my less limber readers).
Tonight’s indoor picnic: Creamy 24-month Comté and exciting new cheese find Cacouyard (it’s rich and oozy and laced with walnut essence – you get the idea) from The French Comté at Borough Market, sweet roasted onion rye bread and a smooth duck liver mousse. Exceptionally decadent and artery-choking I freely admit – all the more reason to serve with a large, fresh salad…
This cucumber, beetroot and radish carpaccio, flecked with mint and pink peppercorns, is crunchy and refreshing, with a bite that cuts through the richness of cheese and red meat with ease. So simple to prepare and yet, sliced thinly into ‘carpaccio’ (fancy pants for wafer-thin slices in a dressing), this dish is visually striking and the perfect zingy salad for a relaxed summer party.
The perfect accompaniment to a cheese platter or steak, or as a light summer dish on its own.
Cucumber, beetroot & radish carpaccio
Serves 2-3 as a side salad
– 1/2 cucumber
– 8 radishes
– 2 beetroot, cooked
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 3-4 teaspooons white wine vinegar
– pinch salt
– sprig mint
– 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns
Using a very sharp knife or a mandolin, very thinly slice the cucumber, radishes and beetroot. Arrange onto a serving plate and chill.
For the dressing, whisk the oil, vinegar and salt together in a cup. Adjust the sharpness, to taste. Chill until required.
Just before serving, spoon the dressing over the carpaccio and scatter over the mint leaves and peppercorns.
Source: Recipe and photos by pip & little blue.