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 M said...

    Mmmmmmmmmmm. You are forgiven.

    Jacqui 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 M 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!