This is a slightly different way to cook rhubarb that uses very little sugar and is far more savoury than most rhubarb recipes. The short cooking time allows the rhubarb to show off its wonderful crunchy texture and inherent tart flavour.
- 200 g green rhubarb (see Note), cut into 1.5 cm batons
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 100 g pitted Kalamata olives
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 100 ml olive oil, use a nice cooking one but nothing too strong
- 200 g lentils
- 1 medium brown onion, finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 30 g butter
- 350 ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- 4 cups picked watercress leaves, make sure you leave a nice amount of stalk
- ¼ cup picked parsley leaves
- 55 g goat’s curd, at room temperature
- drizzle of spiced honey
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the rhubarb in a bowl with the sugar, give it a little toss to coat and set aside. Place the olives in a saucepan with the thyme and bay leaf and cover with olive oil. Place the saucepan over high heat until the oil starts to bubble. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the rhubarb and sugar, stir to combine and cook for a further 5–7 minutes before removing and allowing the mixture to cool to room temperature in the pan. The rhubarb will be starting to soften, but should still have some crunch.
While your olive and rhubarb mixture is cooling, see to your lentils. Place lentils in a medium saucepan and cover generously with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Once boiling, strain then set aside.
Place another saucepan over medium heat, drizzle in a little of the oil from the olive mixture, add the onions and the garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 8 minutes, or until starting to caramelise a little. Add the lentils, butter and a good amount of seasoning and give it all another thorough stir. Pour over the stock, cover with a cartouche and simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are still fairly firm and the mix is mostly dry. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Place the lentils in a bowl, spoon over the olives and rhubarb, adding a little of the oil. Season and mix, balancing the flavours with lemon juice and making sure it’s all a little oily.
Once you’re happy with the taste, add in the watercress and parsley, mix gently and then spoon onto a large serving platter. Dot the salad with the goat’s curd over and drizzle with some leftover oil, followed by a nice drizzle of honey. Sprinkle with some salt and a little more pepper before serving.
• If possible, try to use younger and smaller stalks as they have a natural sweetness. You will notice there is a lot of oil in the pot, too much for this recipe, but strain and keep the remainder as it’s lovely to drizzle on salads and roasted vegetables.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Rachael Lane. Creative concept by Lou Fay.