Lentil Salad with Dried Cherries, Kale and Toasted Nuts

lentil-salad

Serves 6 – 8

1/4 cup plus 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, minced (about 1/3 cup)
Kosher salt
1 cup dried French lentils or red lentils
1 12-oz. bottle amber or brown ale
1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried sweet cherries
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup hazelnutsor pecans, toasted, and chopped
1 ½ cups fresh curly kale, chopped into 2-inch pieces

Heat 2 tsp. of the olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and 1/4 tsp. salt, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lentils, 1cup of the beer, and 1 cup water. Boil over high heat, stirring once or twice, until the beer foam has settled, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer uncovered until the lentils are tender, 40 to 55 minutes, adding more water as needed to keep them covered. Drain, reserving the liquid, and transfer the lentils to a serving bowl.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup beer with the cherries, and let sit until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain, and discard the beer.
In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with the vinegar, mustard, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Gently stir in the warm lentils. Let sit 10 minutes. Stir in the cherries, parsley, nuts and kale. If the salad seems dry, toss with some of the reserved cooking liquid. Season to taste with more salt or vinegar before serving.

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