Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A humbling experience

It's rather humbling when a chef decides to cook your recipe and it turns out way better in the chef's hands!

Chef Moe Mathieu and his sous chef Lindsay featured the lentil salad from my book Prairie Feast  at an event at the Saskatoon Farmers' Market yesterday. But he jazzed it up with extra lemon juice, a piece of Saskatchewan perch en papillote (in parchment paper), a drizzle of cucumber juice and by cooking the lentils in duck stock. (Like we all have duck stock idling in the frigo.)

The event was sponsored by the Saskatchewan Environmental Society as an opportunity to promote its upcoming Sustainable Gourmet dinner on October 2. I read from Prairie Feast, Moe and Lindsay cooked (well mostly Lindsay, as Moe is on crutches these days...) and we all ate very well.

Here's shot of Lindsay chopping cilantro. Did you know (according to Moe) that half the population likes cilantro and the other half hates it? I'm definitely in the like category!

Photos courtesy Judy Montgonery of the SES.

Lentil and Cucumber Salad

2 cups cooked lentils
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 cup cucumber, diced
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 tsp each cumin, coriander, mustard seeds and peppercorns
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

To make the dressing, toast the whole seeds in a hot dry frying pan. Grind them to a powder in a spice grinder. Whisk the spices with the other dressing ingredients and stir into the lentils. Make this ahead of time so the flavours have plenty of time to mix and mingle. Just before serving, mix the lentils with the other salad ingredients.

PS: Lentils should be cooked until they are just soft to the bite. A nice middle ground between crunch and mush. Depending on the type of lentil, this will proabably take 20-30 minutes. The liquid can be water or stock (meat or vegetable), with a bay leaf or a sage leaf for flavouring.

Make the dressing while the lentils are cooking. After draining the water, mix the dressing into the warm lentils for maximum absorption of the flavours. Cool the lentils before adding the rest of the ingredients. At the end, Moe added a good dose of lemon juice for extra zing.


Alison Zulyniak said...

The salad looks great!! PS: I'm in the 50% that actually hates cilantro. :(

~Prairie Story of Alison Zulyniak

Maggie said...

Thanks for this recipe, it looks delicious!!!

I'm also into the food blog world, and it would be great if you can take a look at my site and leave me any comment/suggestion.

Take care and keep posting!