Call me a lentil snob, but there’s only one kind of lentil I like to eat – the Puy! It keeps its shape, doesn’t end up mushy, and goes perfectly with an endless number of ingredients.
This earthy little salad is a favourite of mine – and is so quick and easy to prepare.
Pickled pear, lentil and gorgonzola salad
Serves – 4
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Resting time – overnight
Cooking time – 1 hour
250ml water, or 1 cup
250ml red wine vinegar, or 1 cup
150g caster sugar, or ¾ cup
4 firm pears, peeled but with stems on
4 small beetroot/beets, peeled and cut into 2cm or ¾ inch cubes
200g Puy lentils, or 1 cup
100g or 3 ½ oz Gorgonzola or other blue cheese (or feta)
50g or 1 handful of watercress
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
Put the water, vinegar and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then add the pears and beetroot/beets. Cut a piece of baking paper/parchment larger than the diameter of the pan, crumple it up, and cut a hole or slit in the centre. Place in contact with the liquid and let some seep through to keep the paper in place. Cover and simmer gently over low heat for 1 hour.
Remove from the heat and transfer the pears, beetroot/beets, and all the liquid to a lidded container. Set aside until it cools to room temperature, then put in the refrigerator to pickle overnight.
When ready to serve, cook the lentils following the package instructions, then drain. Transfer the pears to a cutting board and the beetroot/beets to a bowl (discard the liquid or save it for up to 1 week for pickling something else). Toss the lentils with the beetroot/beets, then crumble the blue cheese into small chunks and add to the bowl. Divide the mixture among four salad plates. Cut each pear in half and place two halves on each plate, with a little watercress on top. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
This recipe is from my new book, Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook, you can order your copy here.