“The best lentils to use for this salad are baby black lentils or green puy-style ones,” reveals chef Mike McEnearney of this recipe from his new book Kitchen by Mike (Lantern; $49.99). “I like to soak them overnight before steaming them. This method cooks the lentils perfectly while keeping them loose and light. Once you’ve cooked lentils this way, you won’t go back!”
Fig, black lentil, treviso and goat’s cheese salad
1 red onion, verythinlysliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
100 g small black or puy-style lentils, soaked overnight
80 ml (¹⁄³ cup) extra virgin oliveoil
Freshlyground black pepper
1 trevisoradicchio, leaves separated and torn into bite-sized pieces
60 g goat’s cheese
Handful of mint leaves
Mix the onion with the balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt in a non-reactive bowl and allow to cure for one hour
Meanwhile, drain the lentils, then place in a steamer and cook over boiling water for about 25 minutes until tender. If you don’t have a steamer, cook the lentils in a saucepan of barely simmering water for about 15 minutes until just done.
Drain the lentils and tip into a large bowl. Fork through a pinch of salt and half of the olive oil, then cover with cling film so the lentils stay moist.
When the onion is ready, mix it and the vinegar into the lentils and season with salt and pepper.
Add the treviso and toss gently, then transfer to a platter.
Cut the figs into wedges and place on top.
Crumble over the goat’s cheese and scatter with the mint. Finish with a few grindings of black pepper and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
TIP: If your figs are not perfectly ripe, drizzle them with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil and roast them in a 180°C oven for five minutes to soften them and bring out their sweetness.