Ancient grain salad, goat’s curd, pomegranate, crispy fried shallots

Ancient grain salad, goat’s curd, pomegranate, crispy fried shallots

New Classics
Mark Roper

The idea here is hardly original. The combination of ingredients is age-old. Grains, pulses, pistachio nuts, pomegranate and goat’s curd are all quite Middle Eastern in origin. This is a delicious and nutritious dish to serve as either a shared starter or a side dish.


Quantity Ingredient
100g wild rice
150g freekeh
200g red or white quinoa
100ml olive oil
salt and pepper
240g tinned cooked puy lentils
400g tinned chickpeas
1 pomegranate
1/2 bunch dill fronds, roughly chopped
15 mint leaves, torn
60g pistachio nuts, crushed
100g goat’s curd

Pomegranate dressing

Quantity Ingredient
60ml tarragon vinegar
65ml lime juice
80ml pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
60g fresh ginger, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
375ml extra-virgin olive oil

Crispy fried shallots

Quantity Ingredient
3 shallots, peeled
cornflour, to coat
500ml canola oil


  1. Wash the wild rice, freekeh and quinoa separately and well under cold running water. Put the wild rice in a saucepan covered with plenty of water, bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 40 minutes or until cooked but firm. Drain and spread out on a tray to cool down.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the freekeh and toast the grains, mixing to coat, for several minutes. Pour in 400 ml boiling water, ¾ teaspoon salt and some black pepper, bring to a gentle simmer then cover and cook over a low heat for 1 hour. Make sure the freekeh is al dente then remove the lid to allow any remaining liquid to evaporate. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Combine the washed quinoa and 500 ml cold water with salt and pepper in a saucepan, covered, then bring to the boil over high heat and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and turn down to medium– low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for 10 minutes or until most of the water has absorbed and the quinoa is al dente. Transfer to a tray, evenly spread the quinoa across the tray and allow to cool. When cool, mix all the grains through with your fingertips lightly, to separate them.
  4. Rinse the lentils and chickpeas thoroughly under cold running water. Drain well, combine with the grains and mix evenly. Refrigerate.
  5. Score through the skin of the pomegranate in half (base to head), just enough to twist the fruit apart into two chunks. Detach the seeds from the pith by holding each half, seed side down, in the palm of your hand and tapping around the skin with your knuckles or a spoon, letting the seeds fall away through your fingers into a bowl. Sift through the pomegranate and remove any white membrane.
  6. For the pomegranate dressing, combine all the ingredients in a food processor, except the extra-virgin olive oil. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the oil gradually, until smooth and emulsified. Drain through a fine sieve and set aside.
  7. For the crispy fried shallots, very thinly slice the shallots into rounds and separate into individual rings. Coat the shallots well with cornflour, then put them into a sieve and shake off the excess cornflour. Put the oil in a suacepan and when the temperature is 150°C, or when the oil bubbles vigorously when the handle of a wooden spoon is inserted, fry the shallots until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towel and season immediately with salt.
  8. To serve

    Add the herbs, pistachio nuts and pomegranate seeds to the grains and legumes. Mix through the dressing and season. Garnish with dollops of goat’s curds and some crispy fried shallots.
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