Posts Tagged ‘salad’

Lentil and fennel salad with lemon and parsley

28 April 2011

I made this salad for Easter lunch on Sunday. I imagined it as I went. Or so I thought.

Many people liked it a lot, and one friend in particular complimented me on the originality of the pairing. I graciously accepted the comment, but all the while something in the back of my mind was nagging. Surely I had not really come up with the idea. I must have seen it somewhere. Speaking to my mother on the phone the next day I asked her about this salad. Had she not previously made something similar that might have half-consciously inspired me?

My mother is an incredible cook, and a nutritionist. Not a steamed-carrots-and-brown-rice kind of nutritionist. She loves good food, really good food. Meat, fish, vegetables, salads, desserts, and – yes – butter. She has written a few books about nutrition, one of which is a book of recipes. Sure enough, one of those recipes is a lentil salad with fennel, parsley, and coriander.

This lentil and fennel salad is different, but the inspiration – as it turns out and like so many other things in my life without my realizing it at first – is my mother’s.

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1 cup green lentils (preferably Castelluccio or du Puy)

1 small red onion

2 bulbs fennel

A generous handful flat-leaved parsley

1 bay leaf

3 Tbsps good olive oil

2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar

Juice and zest from 1 lemon (more lemon juice may be required depending on how juicy it is)

Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

*

The lentils are cooked the same way as for this basic lentils recipe

Pick through the lentils to look for small stone intruders that must be discarded.

To wash lentils, cover with cold water and drain in a fine mesh sieve.

Peel and cut into large chunks the onion and half a fennel, reserving the rest of the fennel for later.

Place lentils into a medium-sized saucepan with 2 cups (double the volume) water. Add vegetable chunks, a few sprigs of parsley, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered, for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat when the lentils are cooked to your liking – I like them to retain a nice bite. Discard sprigs of parsley and vegetable chunks, pour lentils into a large bowl, and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

*

Wash and finely chop the rest of the parsley.

Cut the fennel in half. Place it face side down onto the cutting board, and cut into thin strips, height-wise.

Season the lentils with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper. **The measurements given above are suggestions. I find that lentils hold up to a bold amount of acidity. It is best to season gradually, and adjust according to taste.**

Toss the lentils with the fennel and parsley. Check one last time for seasoning, adjust if necessary, and serve.

*

Related posts

Lentils

Dandelion, fennel, and pumpkin seed salad with pumpkin seed oil

Red beet salad with parsley and chives

24 March 2011

A few days ago “Spring has sprung!” was on everyone’s lips. It was irresistible, I even caught myself humming it. And I should know better. As long as I have lived in New York, spring has never sprung here. It fumbles, stumbles, advances two balmy afternoons, retreats five frigid days, and, just as winter finally seems to capitulate, spring gets bullied away by summer.

It was 20 degrees (Celsius, which is about 70°F) last Friday and we had our first picnic. Now it is raining, snowing, and hailing intermittently. It’s treacherous because the warm days are just enough to conjure visions of light dresses, and coax out the daffodils in the park and the chives on my balcony.

So as winter meets spring, and no one is quite sure which one it really is, I imagined a hybrid salad. The chives, shivering in the snow, were a nice way to springify the enormous beet salad I made to finish the last vegetables in the fridge before going off on holiday. Two weeks of skiing in the Haute Savoie, plenty of cheeses to eat and Abymes to drink. I will report back.

***

Whole raw beets

Flat-leaved parsley

Good olive oil

Juice from 1 lemon

Maldon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Chives

***

Peel and grate the beets with the fine setting of a hand-held grater or food processor. Wash and finely chop the parsley.

Mix the beets with a generous douse of olive oil, freshly pressed lemon juice, salt, and pepper, checking the seasoning as you go and adjusting to taste. Mix in the parsley.

Roughly cut the chives into 1/2 inch (1 cm) pieces and toss into the salad.

Endive salad with apples, walnuts, and comté

27 January 2011

Salads are one of the reasons I look forward to winter. Endive salads in particular, because they are from my childhood, but all the other crisp, bitter, cold-weather greens, reds, and yellows: dandelion, escarole, frisée, radicchio…

In a month or so I may be looking forward to fresh peas and longing for tomatoes, but right now I am excited by the falling snow and this crunchy endive salad. It’s ready in 5 minutes and made a perfect lunch yesterday.

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4 endives (should be tightly compact, white and pale yellow, without a hint of green)

1 red apple

1/2 lemon

About 8 walnuts

Comté (also Guyère or a hard sheep-milk cheese from the Pyrénées)

5 Tbsps good olive oil

1 1/2 Tbsps apple cider vinegar

Maldon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

***

Cut off endive stub and remove one outer layer of leaves. Rinse quickly under running water, shake dry, and slice crosswise into 1/2 inch (1 cm) pieces. Wash apple, cut into quarters, core, and slice quarters thinly crosswise. Immediately toss the endive and apple with the juice from 1/2 a lemon, as they oxidize quickly.

Shell the walnuts and break them into pieces. Cut the cheese into strips about 1 in (2.5 cm) long and 1/3 inch (1 cm) wide. There should be about as much cheese as there are walnuts.

Mix the walnuts and cheese with the endive and apple. Season with the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper and toss well.

Simply kale salad

8 November 2010

Now is the time to eat kale salad, when the first bites of frost have rendered the leaves mild and sweet. As winter settles in kale will become more flavorful but also tougher – perfect for soups. Since I first ate kale salad a few years ago, I’ve been looking out for perfect tender kale to recreate it at home but always seemed to miss the season. I’ve finally caught the right time and decided to make a salad that best respects the essence of raw kale.

Since this salad is all about the kale, it’s not worth making unless the leaves are perfect. I prefer to use a less curly but rather crinkly variety, such as lacinato or rainbow lacinato kale. The leaves should be visibly tender – the best test is to break off a tiny piece and taste it right then and there at the market.

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Sweet and tender, first-frost-bitten lacinato or rainbow lacinato kale leaves

Best olive oil

Lemon

Maldon (or other flaky) sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Parmigiano reggiano cheese*

***

Wash kale in cold water and spin or pat dry. Remove tougher part of the stem (fold leaf in half and cut off its thick “spine”). Cut leaves into tagliatelle-thin strips and place them in a bowl. Dress the kale with a generous dash of olive oil, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, a pinch or two of salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss well to coat the kale and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Place dressed salad on plate and grate parmigiano on top just before serving.

* I made this salad with parmigiano because I always have some at home, however I think it would be just as good (perhaps better, even) with pecorino or coarsely grated ricotta salata.


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