Lentil Salad with Hearts of Palm
A lemon-herb vinaigrette adds bright flavor to earthy French lentils in this hearty salad from Katie Button, chef/owner of Cúrate and Nightbell restaurants in Asheville, North Carolina. The recipe for the vinaigrette makes about 1 1/2 cups dressing—considerably more than you will need to dress the salad—but Katie likes to make a large batch to avoid having leftover herbs wilting in her fridge. Just freeze the leftover dressing in 1/2-cup portions and use on your favorite salads within a few months. Or, if you prefer, you can cut the dressing recipe in half.
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 3/4 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) packed fresh tarragon leaves
- 1/2 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) packed fresh mint leaves
- Grated zest of 2 lemons
- Juice of 3 lemons
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) olive oil
For the salad:
- 1 cup (7 oz./220 g) French green lentils
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 cup (6 oz./185 g) drained jarred or canned hearts of palm, cut into 1/3-inch (9-mm) rounds
- Kosher salt
- Fresh lemon juice to taste
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) roasted salted sunflower seeds
To make the vinaigrette, in a food processor, combine the parsley, tarragon, mint, lemon zest and juice, salt and olive oil and blend until smooth. Set aside 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) for the recipe and freeze the rest in 1/2-cup portions for future use.
To make the salad, pick over the lentils and discard any stones. Rinse the lentils in a colander under cold running water and drain. Transfer to a saucepan and cover with 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
Transfer the lentils to a large bowl and add the shallot, hearts of palm and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the 1/2 cup vinaigrette and toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt or lemon juice if desired.
Transfer the salad to a serving bowl or platter and scatter with the sunflower seeds. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Recipe courtesy of Katie Button, chef/owner of Cúrate and Nightbell restaurants, Asheville, North Carolina