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Celeriac & Lentils with Hazelnut and Mint Salad

Posted Jun 26 2013 5:01pm

Ottolenghi calls this Celeriac & Lentils with Hazelnut and Mint salad "a hearty autumn main course." Living where we don''t have big seasonal differences anyway and wanting to cook with celeriac, I added some leftover/extra local fresh sweet corn and I am calling it a "seasonless" main course or a side dish when accompanied by some perfectly cooked Copper River Sockeye salmon. ;-)

Celeriac & Lentils with Hazelnut and Mint Salad 
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
(Serves 4)

1/3 cup whole hazelnuts, skin on
1 cup Puy lentils (I used small green lentils) 
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
1 small celeriac (1 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 3/8-inch strips 
(I added 3/4 cup of fresh sweet corn) 
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp hazelnut oil (I used walnut oil)  
3 Tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar (I used raspberry red wine vinegar) 
salt and black pepper
4 Tbsp chopped fresh mint 

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Scatter hazelnuts on a small baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Let cool and chop roughly. (I peeled/rubbed the skins off first.) 

Combine lentils, water, bay leaves and thyme into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until al dente. Drain.
In a separate saucepan, cook celeriac in plenty of boiling salted water for 8-12 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.

In a large bowl mix the hot lentils with the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the hazelnut oil (I didn't have hazelnut oil so I used walnut oil instead), the vinegar and plenty of salt and black pepper to taste. Add celeriac and stir well. Taste an adjust seasoning as needed.

When ready to serve, stir in half of the mint and half the hazelnuts. Pile into a serving bowl and drizzle the remaining hazelnut oil on top. Garnish with the remaining mint and hazelnuts and serve.

Notes/Results: Another great Ottolenghi combination of flavors and textures. Although I had my ingredients purchased and had planned to make this for our "pulses" theme before seeing my pal Sue's version post at Couscous & Consciousness , but seeing her variation just sealed the deal. I loved the color her additions of roasted red pepper and pickled lemon added to the mix. I was thinking of adding the sweetness of dried fruit to my version but since I had the kernels from an ear or so of fresh sweet local corn leftover from another recipe, I tossed that in instead. The corn and the raspberry wine vinegar I used added the touch of sweet I was looking for. I have not cooked much with celeriac, although I frequently come across it at the local grocery store. I like the subtle celery flavor and silky texture it added. 

This salad was very good warm, served alongside a moist and flaky piece of gorgeous Copper River salmon (just pan-fried with salt and pepper and lightly dressed with lemon) and my final dab of quick-pickled lemons (ala Sue's idea!) It was even better after it sat overnight, eaten cold on its own, and with leftover salmon for lunch the next day. I would make this again.  

Our theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs is " Got a Pulse "--recipes with beans, lentils and legumes. You can check out what everyone made by following the links. 
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