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Salad of Field Greens with Lentils and Goat Cheese

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Hearty ingredients like lentils and cheese need not be overpowering, if they are offered in small amounts and in the right proportion to greens. Marinated cheese is a Provençal touch, made with both fresh and dry herbs; note that it should be made well in advance. The fresh herbs impart emphatic flavor, and the dry herbs distribute themselves throughout the marinade and cling to the cheese even after it has been drained.

Notes

Order of preparation:



• Marinate the cheese.

• Prepare the Sherry Vinaigrette.

• Cook the lentils.

• Heat the cheese.

• Assemble the salads.



Make-ahead notes:

The Sherry Vinaigrette can be refrigerated up to 3 weeks; whisk to recombine before using.



Grains and legumes

I’m still discovering grains that excite and intrigue me, and I urge you to incorporate more of them into your menus. Grains as well as cooked legumes, such as lentils, make a chewy or creamy bed for seared and roasted fish and for meat: and poultry, and they make the perfect center of a vegetarian meal. Beyond that, grains offer interesting textures, a variety of flavors, ease of cooking, and high nutrition and fiber content, all good reasons to try some of the dishes that follow (and those that accompany many of the fish and meat recipes), however you choose to serve them.

Makes4 servings

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timea day or more

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Courseappetizer

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecheesy, crisp, herby, juicy, savory, sharp, tangy, tart

Type of Dishfirst course salad, salad, warm salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh savory
  • ½ teaspoon dry savory
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon dry marjoram
  • 4 (1-ounce) goat cheese rounds
  • ½ cup imported green lentils
  • 3 cups cold water
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry Vinaigrette
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • 4 cups loosely packed mixed field greens
  • ½ cup Sherry Vinaigrette
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Instructions

  1. For the marinated goat cheese:

  2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and seasonings. Place the cheese rounds in a small pan, cover with the herbed oil, and refrigerate at least 2 days.

  3. For the lentils:

  4. Place the lentils in a medium saucepan and add the water, a pinch of salt, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

  5. Drain the lentils, removing the bay leaf, and while still warm, toss lightly with the vinaigrette. Add the onion and chives and combine.

  6. To serve:

  7. Toss the greens with just enough vinaigrette to moisten and divide among 4 plates. Arrange about 3 heaping tablespoons of lentils around the greens. Place the warm goat cheese over the greens and garnish with the chives.

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