Saturday, 28 July 2007

Lentil, Roasted Onion & Spinach Salad

This is rather a lot of work - well, I shouldn't say that; more just time consuming - none of it is difficult and the results are excellent. It can also be made ahead; just add the dressing to the salad at the last minute.

4-6 servings
1 hour - 30 minutes prep time

Lentil, Roasted Onion & Spinach SaladLentils:
1 cup green or brown lentils
1 bay leaf
pinch salt
2 cups water

Put all these items in your rice cooker. Turn on and let cook. Leave until cool, or if you want to assemble the salad right away, rinse them in cold water and drain well. Remove the bay leaf.

Roasted Onions:
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

Peel and chop the onions. Toss them with the oil in a roasting dish, and roast them for 20 minutes to an hour, until cooked and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. I am giving such a range of times, because it seems hardly worth turning on the oven for just these. They can be made ahead, while the oven is on for some other purpose. If you are doing just the onions, I would turn it on at 450°F and do them fairly quickly. Just remember to watch them and stir.

Salad Dressing:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
the juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt, crushed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed, crushed

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings, crushed if necessary. If you are ambitious, you could toast the cumin seed in a dry skillet before crushing it and adding it to the dressing.

To Assemble the Salad:
450 grams (1 pound) baby spinach leaves

Wash and pick over the spinach. Drain well, and chop coarsely. Cook it in just whatever water is still clinging to it until just wilted. Rinse under cold water at once to stop it cooking any further. Squeeze firmly to remove excess liquid, then chop it finely and toss it with the cooked lentils and onions.

This is an excellent salad to make ahead; but the salad should not sit in the dressing or the lemon juice will bleach the spinach. Toss the salad in the dressing just before serving.

1 comment:

Ruth Daniels said...

I'm sitting in the Chicago O'Hare Airport Hilton wishing they had something this good on the menu.