[Apple and Cumin Lentil Salad]
This past Saturday, our dear friends Laurence and Jean-Christophe threw a housewarming party (pendaison de crémaillère if you remember) in their cool new apartment, just off Bastille. Laurence had asked if we could bring a little something and I had gathered from reliable sources that Marie-Laure and Ludo were going to bring Ludo’s famous cheesecake. I felt that the sweet ground was thus amply covered and decided to make a salad.
I didn’t feel like going to the store to pick up ingredients, so I played a little game of peek-in-the-fridge-rummage-the-kitchen-cabinets-forage-the-drawers, which resulted in this lentil and apple salad, featuring a little tofu for protein and color contrast, and flavored with shallots, cumin and chopped parsley.
I also had a few sheets of brick dough leftover. Brick dough is a very thin wheat dough, somewhat similar to phyllo dough, which is used in North African cuisine. Brick dough tends to dry out pretty quickly once the package is open, so I had the idea of baking the ones I had left into pretty little toppings to decorate the salad.
I very much liked how this salad turned out, and I received very kind compliments from the guests at the crémaillère. And there is also a particular charm to serendipitous recipes, no?
Salade de Lentilles Pomme et Cumin
– 250 g green lentils (preferably lentilles vertes du Puy)
– 2 shallots
– 1 cube of bouillon
– 1 gala apple
– 8 sprigs of fresh, flat-leaf parsley
– 200 g tofu
– 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil (substitute olive oil)
– 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
– salt, pepper, piment d’espelette (substitute red pepper flakes) – to taste
Topping (optional) :
– 2 sheets of brick dough (or phyllo dough)
Peel and chop the shallots. Put the lentils in a large saucepan, and add 3 times their volume of cold salted water. Bring to a boil, add the shallots and the cube of bouillon, stir, and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are al dente : cooked, but still a little crunchy and not yet mushy. Drain the lentils.
Peel and dice the apple, and cook it in a small saucepan over medium heat, until the apple pieces are softened but still retain their shapes.
Put the tofu in a soup plate, cover with another plate, and put something heavy on top (like a carton of milk). This will press the liquid out of the tofu, allowing it to absorb the salad dressing instead. After about 15 minutes, lift both plates together and discard the tofu juice that’s been drained out. Dice the tofu.
Rinse the parsley under cold water and dry with a paper towel. Pluck the leaves off the sprigs, throw the sprigs in the freezer to flavor soup some other day, and chop the leaves.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Cut the sheets of brick dough in one-inch pieces of random shapes. Spread the pieces out on a cookie sheet, and put into the oven to bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp and golden.
In a large salad bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Add the lentils, tofu, apples and parsley, and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours if possible.
Serve cold or at room temperature, topped with a few chips.