This earthy salad makes a great light meal as is, but it's very versatile - add roast baby beetroot or replace the goat's cheese with shredded confit duck. It would also be beautiful topped with a soft-poached egg, or served with a dollop of pistou for a burst of spring flavour.
- 2 baby fennel bulbs, fronds reserved
- 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
- 1 each carrot and celery stalk, diced
- ½ Spanish onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 200 gm small green lentils
- 500 ml chicken stock (2 cups)
- 3 thyme sprigs, plus 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1½ tbsp hazelnut oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ radicchio, coarsely torn
- ¾ cup coarsely torn flat-leaf parsley
- 50 gm roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 100 gm soft goat’s cheese, coarsely broken
- 1Dice 1 fennel bulb. Heat 40ml olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add diced fennel, carrot, celery, onion and garlic, and stir occasionally until softened but not coloured (5-6 minutes). Add lentils, stock, thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and 150ml water, bring to the simmer and cook until lentils are tender, and liquid has almost completely evaporated (15-20 minutes). Drain off any remaining liquid, season to taste and set aside to cool (discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves).
- 2Combine hazelnut oil, vinegar, lemon juice and remaining olive oil in a screw-top jar and shake to emulsify. Season to taste.
- 3Thinly shave remaining fennel bulb on a mandolin and combine in a bowl with lentils, radicchio, parsley, hazelnuts, thyme leaves and reserved fronds. Add vinaigrette, season to taste and toss to dress well. Scatter goat’s cheese on top and serve.