Last weekend, we visited Grayson County in Virginia which is also home to the picturesque Mount Rogers. Now for some reason, I have always had a little bit of a love affair with the sign that marks the camping site, it’s absolutely gorgeous and I finally realized why. The sign always reminds of the camping signs in the old Yogi Bear cartoons! Our trip was fun, judging by the way I ate several homemade farm-fresh bread rolls every morning that I loaded with cream cheese. I’m the kind of guy that loves dunking things like buttered bread and cookies into my coffee or tea and it seemed completely justified at the time, since we were at the Sells’ farm for the entire weekend.
This is rhubarb season and instead of focussing on the many traditional rhubarb desserts (which I do love), I opted for a light and refreshing rhubarb lentil salad. By the way, strawberry rhubarb cobblers are still one of my favorite rhubarb-based desserts. I was lucky to convince Shelly to give me some of her fresh rhubarb stalks that she grows besides several other wonderful things, down at her farm.
Perhaps, since summer is at hand, salads are on my mind a little more than usual. I’ve been eating almost everything I can, as a salad. So here’s my rhubarb-based lentil salad seasoned and spiced with coriander and fresh mint. The rhubarb gives a delicious acidic and tart flavor to the lentils. To keep with the theme of using farm-grown produce, I tossed in some fresh sorrel leaves that I planted a few months back.
rhubarb lentil salad
yields: 2-4 servings
1 cup black lentils, cleaned and rinsed
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander (cilantro) seeds, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cup rhubarb stalks, diced
kosher sea-salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
a few fresh sorrel leaves to garnish
1. Bring the lentils and water to a boil in a large saucepan on a high flame. Reduce the flame to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for about 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain the excess liquid from the lentils and keep the lentils aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in the same saucepan on a medium flame for about 40 seconds. Add the coriander, chili, and oregano to the hot oil and stir for about 20 seconds. Stir in the onions and garlic and sauté till translucent for about 10 minutes. Add the drained lentils to the saucepan along with the rhubarb. Cover with a lid and reduce the flame to a low-medium. Cook for another 10 minutes until the rhubarb pieces are tender. Remove from the stove and season with salt and pepper.
3. Allow the lentils to cool to room temperature and then fold in the fresh mint leaves. Before serving the salad, garnish with the sorrel leaves.