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Fried Pears With Roasted Red Onions and Crisped Puy Lentils

Recipe excerpted from ‘Gather: Everyday Seasonal Food from a Year in Our Landscapes’ by Gill Meller

This colorful, early autumn salad is so easy. Sometimes all you need to make a lovely supper are three well-matched ingredients. Choose ripe pears, but not overripe, as you want them to fry in the hot pan without their breaking up too much. My obsession with crispy lentils began at River Cottage, and I’m loving them lots right now. We must love them together, because they are just outrageously good, and here lend real crunch.

Recipe excerpted with permission from Gather: Everyday Seasonal Food from a Year in Our Landscapes by Gill Meller. Click here to purchase your own copy.


For the Fried Pears With Roasted Red Onions and Crisped Puy Lentils

  • 1/2 Cup puy lentils, rinsed
  • 2 Red onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Ripe pears
  • 1 Knob butter
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


For the Fried Pears With Roasted Red Onions and Crisped Puy Lentils

Preheat the oven to 350ºC [180ºC]. Put the rinsed lentils in a medium pan, cover with water, and set over high heat. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 18 to 25 minutes, until the lentils have softened, but retain some bite. Drain them, then leave them in the colander and allow the steam to evaporate.

Meanwhile, place the onion wedges in a roasting pan with 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, toss to coat, and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Roast the onions in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the wedges are soft and starting to color. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Slice each pear into quarters, remove the cores, then cut each quarter in half again, giving 16 wedges of pear altogether. Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter and oil mixture is bubbling, add the pear slices to the pan. Fry them gently for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until they have taken on a little color. Remove the pear wedges from the pan and keep them warm.

Leaving the skillet on the stove, increase the heat to medium-high. Add the remaining oil, followed by the cooked lentils. Season with a little salt and pepper, and fry, tossing regularly, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are crisped.

Arrange the warm roast onions and pears on a large serving platter. Scatter over the lentils, drizzle over the lemon juice, and bring to the table immediately.