Quince, the distant relative of family favourites the apple and pear, these fragrant fruits tend to be a little more mysterious in the kitchen.
A delicacy that is slowly becoming more uncommon in conventional cooking, the quince is commonly used in jams, jellies and preserves, yet the fruity aroma of these yellow pome-fruits lends itself to liven up even summery salads and wintery soups.
Packed full of dietary fibre and rich in mineral content such as iron, copper and potassium, quince is said to help improve digestive health, reduce inflammation and stimulate circulation.
With a sweet perfume and a floral finish, the ancient quince can add a vibrant layer of flavouring to many recipe staples. So go on, explore the quince in all its glory!
Walnut and Poached Quince Salad
(Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty)
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups raw sugar
Zest of ½ orange
2 bay leaves
Juice of ½ lemon
200ml red wine
2 large quinces
200g mixed salad leaves
70g roasted walnuts
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 140C.
Put water, sugar, orange zest, bay leaves, lemon juice and red wine in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Next peel the quince and cut into quarters, and then cut the quarters into halves. Place the quince into the saucepan, cover and put the pan in the oven.
After 1 ½ hours, test to see if the quince is tender with a knife, if not, leave in oven for another half hour. Remove from oven and cool.
To make the dressing, mix together all the ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, place mixed salad leaves on a serving platter and add the quince on top. Drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle walnuts on top.