Friday, February 20, 2009

French Lentil, Beet & Asparagus Salad

Straight away, I must be forgiven for eating out of season asparagus. I am so yearning for the spring months and am in denial about the dark days of February.

I love French green lentils, sometimes called Lentils de Puy, particularly in salads. They are quite sturdy and hold up to most any dressing. A couple roasted, cubed beets add lovely color and a sprinkling of salty pepitas and piquant minced preserved lemon infuses this faux-spring salad with some zip. I’m trying to eat more beets and pepitas since the New York Times tells me I should, along with all the other superingredients. This salad is a good start.

For four servings:

  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 beets
  • 1 cup pencil thin asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2-3 wedges preserved lemon, well rinsed, pulp discarded, rind minced
  • 3 tablespoons roasted and salted pepitas
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • For white wine vinaigrette:

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 10-12 fresh mint leaves
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

  • Up to 2 days before, roast the beets: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim off the ends and place the beets on a large sheet of foil. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Make a sealed packet, and place in the oven. Roast for 45-60 minutes. Let cool, peel, and cube. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    Add the lentils to a pot, cover with salted water, add the carrots and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Drain and set aside. In another pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes, just until tender. Drain, place in an ice-water bath to cool and set aside.

    In a large bowl, add the cooked lentil/carrot mixture, the cubed beets, the asparagus, the preserved lemon and the pepitas. Combine thoroughly.

    In a blender add all the vinaigrette ingredients and blend until thoroughly emulsified. Add the vinaigrette to the lentil salad to taste, adjusting the salt and pepper if necessary.


    Eric said...

    Mmmmmmmmmmm. You are forgiven.

    thecelticcookinshanghai said...

    I roasted some beets yesterday, and yes I too was guilty of buying some asparagus but now I know there was a reason as this is the dish they were waiting for. Just need to track down some preserved lemons and tomorrows lunch is taken care of. Have a great weekend.

    Eric said...

    Burt and I made this last night and it was delicious. We didn't have preserved lemon so I just added some lemon zest. Thanks for the great salad!