LENTIL SALAD WITH RADICCHIO AND HONEY WALNUTS
I love making lentil salads for daytime parties. They are perfect at room temperature, provide protein and nutrients, and wonderfully absorb flavor. Here is a delicious and filling salad by chef Yotam Ottolenghi. He is a master of vegetarian cuisine and his cookbook, Plenty, is one of my favorites. I recently came across this recipe in a magazine and had to make it. Sweet, salty, crunchy, and much more, this salad hits all the right spots.
1 1/4 cups green lentils
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup honey (I used a local raw honey from the Atwater Farmers Market. The original recipe calls for manuka honey)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon water
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup walnuts
1/2 medium radicchio
2/3 cup basil, roughly chopped
2/3 cup dill, roughly chopped
2/3 cup parsley, roughly chopped
2 oz. pecorino sardo or goat cheese, optional (I didn’t use cheese this time but I am sure it would be a delicious addition to the recipe)
cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a bowl combine, 1/4 cup honey, red pepper flakes, turmeric, a large pinch of salt, and 1 tsp water to create a thick paste. Add walnuts to the honey paste and stir to coat. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes until nuts are crunchy and toasted. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
After you put the walnuts in the oven, place the lentils and bay leaves in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, remaining honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Whisk until honey is incorporated. Drain cooked lentils and stir them into the mixture while they are still hot, let cool slightly.
Pour the remaining oil in a small frying pan and place on high heat. Core the radicchio and cut the half into 8 small wedges (they will fall apart, don’t worry about it). Place in the hot oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add lentils, walnuts, herbs and cheese, if using. Stir gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Original recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi.