This is the time of year when I find the prettiest radishes in all shapes, sizes, and colors at our farmers’ markets and farm stands. I brought home some pale, purple, not-too-big daikon radishes from Boggy Creek Farm along with their dainty arugula leaves for this salad. First, the Puy lentils needed to be cooked, rinsed, and drained. Meanwhile, shallots were thinly sliced and tossed with olive oil and salt. They were spread into an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roasted for just a few minutes to bring out the sweetness but not add much color. While still warm, they were sprinkled with sherry vinegar and set aside to cool. Sourdough bread was torn into small pieces and tossed with olive oil and berbere spice which is an Ethiopian chile powder with a little cinnamon among other spices. The croutons were baked until golden. The dressing was a mix of sherry vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Raw golden beets and round red radishes along with the purple daikons were thinly sliced with a mandolin. Those were added with the cooled lentils, shallots, cilantro leaves, arugula, and some of the croutons to a bowl to be tossed with the dressing. The salad was served on a platter and topped with the remaining croutons.
The raw, sharp radishes and earthy beet slices combined well with the lentils in the dressing. The vinegar-soaked shallots added a nice punch of flavor, and crunchy croutons are always welcome especially when they come with the added flavor of spicy chile powder. Seared salmon was a great pairing with this salad and a bit of a twist on the classic salmon and lentils combo. Whether it’s full recipes or borrowed parts and pieces, I’m excited to try more things from this book.
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