(Recipe is by Giada de Laurentiis and can be found at the Food Network site here.)
Step by Step Instructions:
To make this lovely and refreshing salad, you’ll need the following: A pound of Lentils, One cup each of Green and Red Grapes, Kosher Salt, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, 2-3 Lemons, 1/2 cup of skinless Hazelnuts, 1 Red Pepper, 2 Scallions, 1 Cucumber, and Freshly Ground Pepper.
I love being able to do part of a recipe ahead of time to save time later in the cooking process. One thing you can do ahead is remove the skins from the hazelnuts if you’re like me and couldn’t find any where the skin had been removed already. I did this over my lunch break, but you could easily do this several hours or days prior to cooking the recipe.
Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Then I took a pan with sides, placed my trusty Silpat on it, and put my hazelnuts on the pan. I baked my hazelnuts for about 10-12 minutes. You can see the skin has cracked on the above hazelnuts.
While the hazelnuts were baking, I grabbed two kitchen towels and laid them across each other as you see above. When the hazelnuts were done baking (you could begin to smell the hazelnuts to know they were ready), I poured them into the center of the towels.
I pulled the ends of the towels up as you see above. Then I used my hands to aggressively roll the towel where the hazelnuts were on the counter top and with my hands to loosen the skins so that they would come off.
I then picked out the hazelnuts whose skins came off, I placed the others back on my Silpat and baked them another five minutes and repeated the towel trick until I had clean hazelnuts as you see above. Gorgeous!
To begin the recipe itself, I started with measuring a pound of lentils. I first picked through the lentils to remove anything that didn’t resemble a lentil. My best tip for you is to put a little at a time in a hand strainer and shake it a bit so that the light-weight non-lentil pieces rise to the top. They are much easier to pick out. Then rinse the lentils.
While the lentils were draining, I filled a large saucepan more than half full of water and bring the water to a boil. Then I added the lentils and cooked them for about 18 minutes until they were tender, held their shape, and were not mushy.
While the lentils cooked, I removed the top and the seeds of the red pepper and diced it.
Then I cut off the root end of two scallions and then cut the scallions.
Next up, I peeled a cucumber. I cut off the two ends, cut it in half length-wise, and used a spoon to remove the seeds. Then I diced the cucumbers.
I moved onto the prepping the grapes by cutting each grape in half length-wise.
Then I roughly chopped the hazelnuts. You could always do this step ahead of time once you have removed the skins from the hazelnuts.
The final step in prepping for the salad is to zest a lemon (or two) so that there are two teaspoons of lemon zest.
During this process, the lentils will be done cooking. I drained them and finished the prep work.
Once the prep work is done, combine your lentils, red peppers, scallions, cucumbers, grapes, hazelnuts, and lemon zest in a bowl.
Then it’s time to throw together the vinaigrette. I started by juicing enough lemons to come up with 1/3 cup of lemon juice. It took me about 2 lemons.
Then whisk in 1/3 cup of olive oil. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Then pour the vinaigrette onto the salad and stir everything together. And then you’re done. It’s easy, light, and refreshing. A definite must try recipe when cooking with lentils. Enjoy!
1 pound green lentils (recommended: Sabarot)
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup halved seedless green grapes
1 cup halved seedless red grapes
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped skinned and toasted hazelnuts
2 teaspoons lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
1/3 cup fresh lemon
juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Salad:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the lentils and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 18 to 20 minutes.
2. Drain and let cool for 5 minutes. Place lentils and remaining salad ingredients in a large salad bowl.
For the Vinaigrette:
1. Place the lemon juice in a small bowl. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly, until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste
2. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well.