Hello! Middle East - - LIFESTYLE -

“Learn­ing to en­joy a range of bit­ter leaves is a re­ally im­por­tant part of ed­u­cat­ing your palate and ex­plor­ing a whole new di­men­sion of flavours. In­stead of think­ing about bit­ter as a neg­a­tive, we riff off it here by team­ing it with the sweet­ness of roasted onions, the sour­ness of vine­gar and the sat­is­fy­ing crunch of nuts.”

Serves 6-12

To­tal time 1 hour 20 min­utes, plus cool­ing

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS • 6 red onions • 1 bulb of gar­lic • ½ bunch fresh thyme (15g/½oz) • 100g/4oz blanched hazel­nuts • Olive oil • 600g/1lb 5oz mixed bit­ter leaves such as chicory, radic­chio, Castel­franco, Tre­viso, dan­de­lions

For the dress­ing

• 1 tbsp Di­jon mus­tard • Ex­tra vir­gin olive oil • 3 tbsp red wine vine­gar

1. Turn the oven on to full whack (240°C, 470°F, Gas 9). Put the un­peeled onions in a snug-fit­ting dish and roast for 1 hour or un­til soft and slightly burnt. Af­ter 30 min­utes, halve the gar­lic bulb across the mid­dle and add to the dish. Toss the thyme sprigs and hazel­nuts in a lit­tle olive oil and sprin­kle over the onions for the last 5 min­utes. Re­move and leave to cool.

2. Trim and sep­a­rate the bit­ter leaves (I like to take a bit of pride in this and prep each leaf de­pend­ing on its size – tear up the big ones, leave the lit­tle ones whole).

3. For the dress­ing, squeeze the roasted gar­lic into a bowl (dis­card­ing the skins) and mash well, then mix in the mus­tard and a pinch of sea salt. Whisk­ing con­stantly, driz­zle in 6 tbsp of ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, then, still whisk­ing, add the vine­gar. Taste to per­fect it to your re­quire­ments as it might need ex­tra vine­gar.

4. Squeeze the sweet onions out of their crispy skins into a serv­ing bowl, break­ing them up a bit as you go. Sea­son with salt and black pep­per then driz­zle over the dress­ing. Top with the bit­ter leaves, toss­ing with your fin­ger­tips un­til beau­ti­fully dressed. Crush the hazel­nuts in a pes­tle and mor­tar un­til fairly fine then scat­ter over the salad.

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