Salad inspired from a Diana Henry recipe
- 1 cup green lentils Here I used Puy lentils but any green lentil will do. I always sort thru the lentils and give a rinse first.
- 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
- 1 small shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small lemon For juice and for zest
- 2 slabs good Feta cheese about 1 cup when crumbled Do not buy feta already crumbled, I find it has no flavor. Use full fat, it has more flavor.
- 1 large Garnet Yam, peeled and cut into 3/4" cubes
- 2 T good olive oil Plus more for drizzling over salad.
- 1 T Dijon Mustard
- 2 T champagne vinegar White or a mild vinegar would also work
- salt and pepper for seasoning
Place the pot on the stove and add the 2 T of olive oil into it. Turn to a medium heat. Add the carrot and let it cook but not brown in the oil. It should cook for about 4-5 minutes.
Add in the lentils and 1 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are done. You should be able to taste one and make sure it is cooked. They should be cooked thru but not mush. Drain and immediately pour onto a sheet pan. Drizzle at least 3 T. of olive oil all over the lentils.
While the lentils are cooking you want to take the garnet yams and place in a bowl. Season with a whisper of salt and pepper and drizzle about 2 T. of olive oil over them. Mix well and put on a sheet pan and place in a 375 oven till brown. This may take about 30-40 minutes. You want to give the yams a stir half way thru cooking to make sure they brown on all sides. When they are cooked, set aside to cool.
Take the lemon and zest/grate it over the entire batch of lentils on the pan. You just want the yellow part and it should be a fine grate. Cut the lemon in half and juice it. In a small bowl add the lemon juice, mustard and vinegar. Mix well and pour over the lentils. Sprinkle the chopped shallots over the lentils and mix well. You want to do this when the lentils are still warm. I find the lentils absorb flavors more when they are still warm. Crack pepper over the lentils.
Place the lentil mixture in a bowl. Give a gentle stir. Toss in 1/2 the cooked yams and crumble half of the feta cheese in. Give it a stir and taste. Do not over stir. You want the food to be clean so you can see the individual piece of roasted yam and the nice clump of feta. I find that the feta is salty enough so you may not need to add any salt to the dish. Every feta cheese is different and this is why I always encourage people to taste their food. If you feel the seasoning is good than pour the mixture out onto a platter. Also make sure the salad has enough olive oil. If when you taste it you feel it could be a little dry than by all means pour in another tablespoon or more into the mixture. Place the rest of the cooked yams over the salad and the rest of the feta cheese.
Notes: If you do not have access to garnet yams you could use a sweet potato. I like to eat this salad at room temperature. You could make the lentils the day before and than the next day leave out and cook the yams and than finish the rest of the salad. My favorite feta is made from sheep's milk and comes from Israel. I am not a big fan of crumbled cheese. I find it has no flavor and is usually not that high a quality of product. If this is all you have access to than by all means go ahead and use it. You might need to add more olive oil since I find the crumbled feta to be dry.
This is a great side dish to a roasted chicken or this could even eaten as a main lunch dish served along with toasted pita. The addition of honeydew melon or cantaloupe slices for dessert are a nice touch.