Lentils, walnuts and vegetables salad with shallot vinaigrette
When vegetables are fresh and tender in the spring I like to combine them with lentils to make different salads. The idea here is to build a few layers of flavours and textures so every bite has a surprise. This salad is good served warm or at room temperature.
Today I had crisp white baby turnips fresh from the market and thick local spring asparagus from Osoyoos in the south Okanagan. For a tangy note I added Asian style cucumber salad and a few fresh cherry tomatoes, then topped it all with a crunchy mix of micro green that added not only visual but also texture and flavour elements.
Don’t limit this salad to the ingredients I listed. Carrots, green and yellow beans, beets, tomatoes and other vegetables would work well in this salad just as well.
8 asparagus spears, trimmed
4 baby turnips with green tops attached
Salt and pepper
Asian style cucumber salad:
1/2 English cucumber
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
A few flakes of hot pepper
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion
A sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds
Shallot vinaigrette (recipe below)
Rinse the lentils then place in a pot with water to cover by an inch or so. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until the lentils are cooked through but not mushy. Drain well then toss with some of the vinaigrette while still warm. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet then roughly chop and add to the lentils.
Bring water to a boil in a deep skillet, add a large pinch of salt then the asparagus. Cook until the asparagus is just cooked through but still has a crunch. Drain and plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking.
Cut the turnips in to 4 wedges keeping part of the greens attached. Place in a skillet filled with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook on medium heat until you can just insert a knife into them with minimum resistance. Don’t over cook. Remove and drain. Set aside.
Slice the cucumber thinly on a mandolin for equal thickness slices. Add the red onion. Mix the dressing ingredients and drizzle some of it over the cucumbers. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and set aside.
Assembling the salad:
Spoon lentils onto each salad plate.
Drizzle a little of the dressing over the asparagus spears, add a little salt and pepper and arrange on top of the lentils.
Drizzle some dressing over the turnips, salt and pepper lightly and arrange around the lentils.
Pile some of the cucumber salad over the asparagus to create height.
Top with a mound of micro greens.
Scatter a few halved cherry tomatoes around the lentils.
Shower salt over the salad and a few twists of the pepper mill.
Serve with extra dressing on the side.
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 tablespoon white wine
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
A pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or as needed
A few twists freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil, a couple of tablespoons more if needed
Combine shallot and wine in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook until the wine reduces to a syrup. Remove from heat.
Place shallots and syrup in a small jar, add remaining ingredients, close the jar with a lid and shake until dressing ingredients are emulsified. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper or more oil if needed. Shake again before using.