Tuesday, August 16, 2011

11-Spice Lentil Salad with Capers and Dates

When Janet described this as "The Best Lentil Salad, Ever. For Sure. Make. This. Now.", I sort of had to take her seriously.  And the lineup of flavors sounded really cool: 

This recipe not only uses a combo of cumin/coriander/turmeric with cardamom/cinnamon/cloves/nutmeg; it does a similar curve ball with the pairing of dried fruit (I used dates) and capers/vinegar.  It's basically a party in your mouth.

I didn't change much, but I did use plain ol' brown lentils instead of du Puy--they don't retain their form quite as well as those fancy French ones, but as long as you are careful to watch for overcooking, they worked just fine.  I also skipped the Aleppo pepper and used cayenne.

11-Spice Lentil Salad with Capers and Dates

2.25 c (1 lb) French du Puy or brown lentils
1 medium red onion, finely diced and soaked in water for at least 5 minutes
1 c dried currants (or other dried fruit--I used chopped dates)
1/3 c capers, chopped if large
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 TB maple syrup
1 TB strong mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp cayenne (or less)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Rinse lentils well and drain. Place in a pot and cover with a 3-4 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Check lentils for doneness after 15 minutes, but they should take about 20-25 minutes in total. You will know they are cooked if they still retain a slight tooth – al dente! Overcooking the lentils is the death of this dish. Be careful!
2. While the lentils are simmering, make the dressing by placing all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine.
3. Finely dice red onion – the salad is best if all the ingredients are about the same size. If using raisins, chop them roughly to make them a bit smaller, and do the same with the capers if they are large.
4. When the lentils are cooked, remove from heat, drain and place under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled slightly but still a little warm, place lentils in a large serving bowl and toss with dressing. Add drained onion, capers, and currants. Chill until serving, marinading at least overnight for the flavours to meld.
Serves 8.


myer nore said...


janet @ the taste space said...

Glad you liked it, too! It is a great party dish. I haven't met anyone who hasn't liked it yet, including self professed salad-haters. :)