Lentil Salad with Ramps, Currants, Capers, Almonds and Feta

April 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Lentil Salad with Ramps, Currants, Capers, Almonds and Feta

I was finally able to get asparagus at yesterday’s market – shockingly tender, thin, beautiful asparagus. In the meantime until I am able to get that recipe up, I have a recipe that makes use of more of last week’s young allium, still at peak. I picked up some beautiful ramps along with that young garlic I used in these rice balls. The sharp but fresh, subtle leek flavor of these ramps is intense and wonderful when toned down with vinegar. This salad, however, has so much more than a bit of raw-onion flavor. This salad is packed. Earthy, firm yet tender lentils are simply lovely, but a few more ingredients make them absolutely addictive.

Lentil Salad with Ramps, Currants, Capers, Almonds and Feta

The combination of currants, red onion (which I replaced with ramps) and capers is what drew me to this recipe; it sounded unique but completely perfect. What makes this salad so crazy is actually the vinaigrette. It packs a ton of spices and the Southeast Asian flavors somehow are perfect with the other bold ingredients: sweet and chewy currants, plump and briny capers, tangy feta and deeply sweet maple syrup. This recipe takes advantage of a global pantry. It is hard to explain just how delicious a humble lentil salad can be, but this recipe has a lot going on.

Lentil Salad with Ramps, Currants, Capers, Almonds and Feta

French Green Lentils are used here, but you could also use Black Beluga lentils with great success. Avoid plain brown, green or red lentils as they lack the firm texture of a French Green or Black Beluga. And avoid overcooking  for the same reason. The salad gets better and better after sitting in the refrigerator for a day or two, as the flavors become acquainted.

Lentil Salad with Ramps, Currants, Capers, Almonds and Feta1 year ago, today: Chicken Korma

Lentil Salad with Ramps, Currants, Capers, Almonds and Feta:

adapted from My New Roots
serves 4-6

– 1 lb french green lentils (or black beluga, NOT red or brown lentils)
– 1/2 cup currants
– 1/2 cup almonds (raw or toasted), roughly chopped
– 1/3 cup capers
– 1/4 lb feta

vinaigrette:
– 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
– 4 oz ramps (1 small bunch), greens discarded/white and red portion thinly sliced
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1/2 tsp turmeric
– 1/2 tsp coriander
– 1/2 tsp cardamom
– 1/4 tsp cayenne
– 1/4 tsp cloves
– 1/4 tsp nutmeg
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
– salt & pepper
– 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Rinse lentils in a fine-meshed sieve and transfer to a small pot. Cover with water by several inches and bring to a boil, down to a simmer for 10-15 minutes longer or until the lentils are fully cooked but before they have lost their texture (mushy lentils are no good in a salad). Strain into a fine-meshed sieve and rinse with cold water to cool quickly. While the lentils are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette: transfer the sliced ramps to a small bowl and cover with the vinegar. Add all of the spices and let the ramps soak in the vinegar while the lentils cook and cool. Whisk in maple syrup and mustard, then oil and season to taste. Toss cooled lentils (they don’t have to be completely cool, you just don’t want the lentils to end up cooking the other ingredients) with currants, almonds, capers and the vinaigrette. Crumble feta over servings and enjoy.

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