Baking is science and I don't like formulas, but cooking is art and anything goes...and the simpler the better. It's all about less time at the stove and more time at the table. With a forty year passion for food I'm excited to share what I do in the kitchen nearly every day.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Lentil Salad

Our local farmers are amazing! It’s only the beginning of June and at last week’s Waitsfield farmer’s market I saw asparagus, spinach, Russian Kale, radishes, broccolini, onions, herbs, scallions, turnips, greens, and more. Be sure to check it out!

I used the parsley, spinach, and onions I bought along with the first of the Florida corn from the grocery store for my first lentil salad of the season. Lentil salads are about three things, lentils, dressing, and all the other stuff.

You want your lentils firm…not hard or mushy.  For a cup of dry lentils, eleven to twelve minutes at a low boil is usually about right. Rinse with cold water and drain after cooking.

The dressing is where most of the flavor comes from, so don’t hold back on the garlic, herbs, and spices! Start by mincing a clove of garlic or two in the Cuisinart. Next, add a full bunch of parsley, stems and all, a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt, and a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil. Pulse into a coarse paste.

The oil and vinegar go in later, but for now, stir the parsley paste together with the drained lentils in a large bowl and set aside. 

As far as all the other stuff goes, there are countless options. Some of my go to ingredients include kale, arugula, squash, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, scallions, carrots, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, dates, garbanzo beans, corn, feta cheese, olives, capers, and fresh herbs.

For ingredients like squash and sweet potatoes, it’s necessary to either sauté or roast them ahead of time. Corn, onions, and peppers can be used raw or cooked.

This time around I sauteed the onion and corn before mixing them together with the lentils and some sun-dried tomatoes. I then added some extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and red wine vinegar using a 50/50 oil to acid ratio. And as always, salt and pepper to taste.

For an easy one plate meal, throw some spiced shrimp, chicken, or tofu over the top. 

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