Apple-Black Lentil Salad

DSC01768I recently had the pleasure of working with Milwaukee-based cookbook author Lucy Saunders to plan a beer tasting event in Madison. Lucy’s latest cookbook, Dinner in the Beer Garden, pairs garden-centric dishes with craft beers. The event included six pairings like Vintage Brewing Company Weiss-Blau with Beet-Ricotta Gnocchi, and Sprecher Black Bavarian Schwarzbier with Cocoa Mascarpone.

After the event I was eager to dive into Lucy’s cookbook that features more than 100 recipes with beer pairings and beautiful, color photos. The recipes are a new take on traditional biergarten fare, incorporating plenty of seasonal and local ingredients. Dinner in the Beer Garden includes 12 chapters on appetizers, beans & legumes, cheese, eggs, fish & seafood, greens, noodles & pasta, roots, squash & vegetables, grains, sauces and soups, and fruits & desserts. Profiles of beer gardens and breweries are inserted in between chapters. Some recipes that especially stand out to me include beet sliders, pumpkin empanadas, brown ale bananas, hop-aged cheddar and tomato grilled cheese, and grilled peaches with honey-thyme glaze.

Last night I tried the Apple-Black Lentil Salad. While I’ve cooked with both green and brown lentils, this was my first experience using black lentils. Although the recipe indicated that you could easily substitute with green or brown lentils (with additional cooking time), I eventually found black lentils at Whole Foods. I liked the contrast of brightly colored fruit and vegetables on a bed of black lentils. I used a tangelo (a hybrid of a tangerine and grapefruit) in place of the orange since I had a box on hand, and substituted spinach for the lettuce. I also doubled the recipe so I’d have enough leftovers for a few lunches.

The salad was excellent. I also very much enjoyed pairing it with a hard cider as the recipe recommended. With the help of Lucy’s tasting notes, I was able to discern how the beer melded with the apple flavor and heightened the earthy taste of the lentils and mustard.

Lucy made a version of the Apple-Black Lentil Salad for the tasting event, but substituted the tomatoes for crumbled Sarvecchio cheese (paired with New Glarus Raspberry Tart). It was equally delicious and goes to show that you can really take this recipe in any number of directions.

Dinner in the Beer Garden is available for purchase at the Vintage Brewery, New Glarus Brewing Company giftshop, and will also be available beginning in March at Orange Tree Imports.

Apple-Black Lentil Salad (From Dinner in the Beer Garden; serves 4)

1 cup dried black lentils (2 cups cooked)
2/3 cup diced green apple, tossed with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup diced celery
1 orange, peeled and segmented
1 cup tomato wedges
Oak leaf or butter lettuce (4 to 6 ounces)
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

To prepare lentils, rinse in a colander and pick over to remove any grit. Place in 2-quart saucepan. Cover with water to 1-inch above the lentils, and bring to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes, or until lentils are just tender. Black lentils are smaller and cook faster than brown lentils. Let cool to lukewarm, then drain and add to mixing bowl.

While lentils cook, prepare apples, celery, orange and tomato wedges. Wash and trim the lettuce. Mix vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt and cayenne in a small bowl, and whisk together to make an emulsion.

Toss the cool lentils with apples, celery, orange and tomato wedges, and dressing. Arrange four salad plates with lettuce leaves on edges. Divide lentil salad mixture evenly between the plates.

Pairing: Pair with hard cider or pale ale, to meld with the apple flavor and heighten the earthy taste of the lentils and mustard.DSC01759

Category: Kristin's Kitchen One comment »

One Response to “Apple-Black Lentil Salad”

  1. Marietta brill

    Thanks! I Love the fresh, inventive recipes in lucy saunders’ unique cook book – I’ve only followed the recipes to the letter and look forward to playing around a little.

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