Thursday, 29 April 2010

Goat’s cheese and Beetroot and Lentil Salad with English Goats Cheese, Garden Flowers and Herbs

This was one of the courses that I was struggling to rule out, to cook or not to cook. Sometimes you simply have to go with it and cook everything (see my St Georges Day Menu for the other starters). This salad is very easy to make. The reason that it is so good is the flavours that are brought together within it. Simply lovely!

Goat’s cheese and Beetroot and Lentil Salad with English Goats Cheese, Garden Flowers and Herbs

Ingredients:

6 x Medium sized Beetroot
Maldon Salt
Black Pepper
Cup of Puy Lentils
1 Stock Cube
1 x Lemon
1 x Carrot
1 x Celery Stalk
1 x Goat Cheese (I had the St George Soft Goats Cheese)
Olive Oil (Rapeseed Oil if you have it!)

From the Garden:

Small bunch of Sorrell
Small bunch of Oregano
Small bunch of Parsley
Small Bunch of Mint
Viola Flowers (Optional)

First to the Beetroot, simply chop of the leaves leaving a small amount of stalk and place in boiling salted water (leave the skins on). They should take 25 to 30 minutes to become tender – check with a knife to see if cooked. Once cooked set aside to cool for 10 minutes and then using your fingers peel and remove the tops and bottoms of the Beetroot. Once peeled set aside to cool completely.

Next to your lentils, find a suitable pan and ¾’s fill with water. Season the water with a generous pinch of salt and add the stock cube, carrot that has been cut in half lengthways and the Celery. Check your packet and cook for the recommended amount of time, again until tender. Once cooked set aside to cool (removing the veg that have now done their job and imparted their flavour).

Once both the Beetroot and Lentils have cooled and you are ready to serve it’s simply an assembly job.

Take the Beetroot and chop into 1/8’s so you have 8 perfect moon shaped pieces.

The Lentils need a good glug of Olive Oil and the juice of a Lemon, stir in and check your seasoning. Next chop your herbs and add them to the lentils.

Now line up your plates and using a spoon place a small pile of the herby dressed lentils in the centre of each plate. Now place Beetroot pieces all over around the piles of Lentils like petals around a flower. Then place another good spoon of Lentils on top of the Beetroot to hold them in place.

Break pieces of goats cheese over the top of the salad and then sprinkle any remaining herbs over the top of the salad.

Finish the plate with a circle of Olive Oil (you know the chef’y way to finish a plate) and your there. As a good friend of mine tells me regularly, minimum effort, maximum impact!

To add to the colours I picked the flower heads from Violas growing in my garden, most of the guests hadn’t eaten flowers before and it turns the dish from a gourmet salad into a centrepiece and talking point!! Try it!

This is a full and mouth smacking starter or appetiser! The sweet Beetroot, creamy Goats Cheese and almost meaty lentils are brilliant together. The Lemon juice, Herbs and Olive Oil just bring the whole thing up and make it, well.. Fantastic!

British Food Home

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