This celebration of spring rings all the right notes for a lovely gathering around the Sunday dinner table. The surprise here are the radishes when pan-fried in a little ghee or butter - your guests will be totally delighted, as were we when we first tried this. Combined with our delicate and peppery French lentils, asparagus, goat cheese, and this new soy-balsamic vinaigrette, we think we've got a new seasonal classic.
Spring French Lentil Salad:
2 tbsp ghee or butter, divided
2 bunches radishes, stemmed and halved
2 bunches asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut into thirds
4 cups cooked GRAIN French Lentils, approximately 1 3/4-2 cups dry
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup fresh mint, torn
2 cups olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp honey or other sweetener
2 tbsp dijon mustard
optional: 1 shallot, minced
Cook the French lentils according to package directions, or see our soak and steam method below which we highly recommend. Once cooked to just al dente, set the lentils aside and allow to cool. While the lentils cook, heat 1 tbsp ghee or butter in a large sauté pan and add the radishes and a small pinch of salt. Cook, insides facing down as much as you can, for 8-10 minutes, or until the whites are browned. Be sure to stir the radishes to cook evenly. Remove from the pan and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Using the same hot pan, heat the other tbsp of ghee or butter and add the asparagus and a small pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until bright green and starting to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the bowl with the radishes.
Next, combine the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Once the vegetables have cooled slightly, toss together with the cooked lentils, fresh herbs, and plenty of Soy-Balsamic dressing to taste. Serve topped with more herbs and crumbled goat cheese.
Soak & Steam Lentil Method:
To cook, place a metal vegetable steamer at
the bottom of a large soup pot. Fill the pot with cold water to just reach the bottom of the steamer basket. Add the soaked lentils to the pot with the steamer basket and bring the water to a boil on high. Turn the heat to medium-high and steam for 12-15 minutes, until the lentils are just tender.
Remove from the heat carefully and toss in a large bowl with a few tbsp of olive oil to coat. Transfer the cooked lentils, if not using immediately, to a container and keep in the fridge for up to a week until ready to use.