‘Salades composées’ are an important part of a French restaurant menu. This recipe is a melange of the kind of things I like to find in such a salad.
SERVES 2 AS A MAIN COURSE OR 4 AS A STARTER
175g small beetroots, washed but not peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
100g puy lentils, rinsed
1 fresh thyme sprig
salt and black pepper
small handful flat-leaf parsley
1 ripe pear
100g goat’s cheese log
2 small handfuls rocket leaves
4 walnut halves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp walnut oil
1 tbsp Banyuls or sherry vinegar
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan. Put the beetroots on a baking tray and roast them for up to an hour, depending on size. They should be tender to the point of a knife when done. Leave them until cool enough to handle, then peel off the skins and cut them into wedges. Set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sweat the shallot and garlic over a medium heat until softened. Add the lentils, 300ml of water, thyme, half a teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper, then simmer for 23 minutes. You may need to add a little more water, but the object is for it all to become absorbed. Leave the lentils to cool down, then chop the parsley and add it to the pan.
3. Core and slice the pear, leaving the skin on. Cut the cheese in half horizontally or into 4 slices, depending on how many you are serving. Preheat the grill and grill the cheese on one side.
4. Mix the olive oil, walnut oil and vinegar to make the dressing.
5. Put the lentils in a wide dish, then top with some rocket leaves. Nestle beetroot wedges and pear slices among the leaves and top with the grilled goat’s cheese and dressing. Sprinkle over the walnuts and serve at once.
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