Confit fennel with Puy lentils
Cooking fennel wedges low and slow in a bath of olive oil makes for deliciously tender results. Pair with creamy goat's cheese, Puy lentils and fresh dill
- Serves: 4 persons
- 500g fennel, cut into 12 wedges
- 6strips of lemon peel
- 7garlic cloves, 6 crushed, 1 minced
- 1tsp whole black peppercorns
- 3bay leaves
- 375ml olive oil, plus extra if needed
- 240g Puy lentils, rinsed
- 1vegetable stock cube
- 60g walnut halves
- juice of ½ a lemon
- ½tsp dijon mustard
- handful of dill, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
- 80g goat's cheese
Step 1Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Put the fennel, lemon peel, 6 crushed garlic cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves and 2 tsp of salt in a medium, deep baking dish. Toss together, then pour over 375ml of oil. Everything should be submerged but add a little more oil if needed. Cover tightly with foil, then cook in the oven for 2 hrs 30 mins, turning everything over halfway through, until the fennel is tender.
Step 2Meanwhile, put the lentils in a pan and cover with 675ml of water. Bring to the boil, crumble in the stock cube, stir, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 mins until tender but still with a little bite.
Step 3During the final 15 mins of the fennel cooking time, put the walnuts in a baking tray and cook in the oven until golden and toasted – check after 10 mins to make sure they are not burning. Remove from the oven and chop.
Step 4Strain the fennel, discarding the aromatics and reserving 60ml of the oil. Put the remaining minced garlic clove, lemon juice and mustard in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking as you go, until emulsified. Whisk in most of the dill, season to taste, then toss with the lentils and walnuts.
Step 5Divide the lentils between serving plates, top with the fennel, goat’s cheese and an extra sprinkle of dill, with a crack of black pepper to finish.