Don't you just love this time of year? Anything green and leafy has been bursting with life. The lilac hedge outside my window, the same window I gaze out of as I write this, is lush and terribly fragrant. Even the grass I thought was dead seems to have come back to life. Of course the creeping bellflower (the current bane of my existence) and other hideous weeds are having their fun in the sun too. But let's not talk weeds when we can talk Good News: my garden is finally planted! However, I can't find kale seeds/plants anywhere! A certain handsome man loves the kale like crazy so it is my current mission in life to find some kale seeds. He has kindly offered to be my weeder (!!), so it's the least I can do in return. For serious. Who offers to weed a garden? Oh love. It must be love.
I have other good news...today I leave to explore Grasslands National Park, in southern Saskatchewan. I'll be the chef for the weekend, traveling with a team of travel writers from across Canada and Tourism Saskatchewan staff. When not making tasty meals in our pimped out RV, I'll get to explore a part of my province and country I've always been dying to see. It's going to be an amazing adventure and I'm so grateful and excited for this most awesome opportunity! I swear, the first 5 months of 2012 have just blown me away with good fortune. Not a day goes by when I don't say thank you.
So let's talk a little about this salad. It's a trial-run for this weekend, when I want to showcase as many local ingredients as possible, and lentils are a major (and majorly delicious) Sask product. Using other local finds, like sweetly scrumptious asparagus and lemony sorrel (I planted some this year and can't wait for it to pop up!), I had the makings for a salad out of Yotam Ottolenghi's most perfect book, Plenty. Seriously, if you love vegetables, pick up a copy of this crazy gorgeous book. It's on a little table beside my couch and I look at it daily, marveling at the beauty of it all and I can't wait to try out more recipes because this one was fantastic. Ingredients are fresh and simple. If you can't find sorrel, use watercress, arugula or even spinach. The dressing is pumped up with herbs and garlic and it washes over the lentils like a warm hug. Toss in barely cooked asparagus and a nice goat feta and it really is a great way to eat your greens. Full of rockstar vitamins and minerals, it will be just what we need as we hike and explore and hopefully don't step into any gopher holes. I can't wait to tell you all about my adventure show you snaps of the food I prepared for the journey. See you soon!
Lentil Salad with Sorrel and Asparagus
1 cup green lentils (I used beluga, which are black and lovely)
2 cups fresh sorrel (or you can use watercress, spinach, arugula...)
2/3 cup parsley
small handful of mint (basil would be yum too)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
coarse salt and pepper
1 tsp honey or agave
1 large bunch asparagus,
1 cup goat feta
Wash the lentils in cold water, then place in a saucepan with lots of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering for 15 minutes until they are just cooked and still hold their shape.
While lentils cook, place sorrel, herbs, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, honey in a food processor. Blitz until smooth. Bring a small pot of salted water to boil and add the asparagus, cooking just for a few minutes. Strain under cool water for a minute. Pour the lovely green dressing over warm lentils. Add the cooked asparagus and toss to combine. Sprinkle with feta and serve warm or at room temp. Makes enough for 4. Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty.