Warm Lentil Salad with Mint-Marinated Feta
- SERVINGS: 8
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons minced mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- 4 ounces feta cheese, preferably French, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cups French green lentils (14 ounces), picked over
- 6 cups water
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 medium leeks, white and tender green, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the pine nuts in a small baking dish and bake for about 2 minutes, or until lightly toasted; let cool. Finely chop 1 tablespoon of the nuts; reserve the rest for garnish.
- In a bowl, combine the chopped pine nuts with the mint, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; season with pepper. Add the diced feta and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- In a medium saucepan, cover the lentils with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well.
- In a small saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the carrots until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and let cool.
- In a large heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the leeks, cooked carrots and the remaining garlic and cook over moderately low heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin, ginger and coriander and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the lentils and stir until warmed through.
- In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and pour it over the lentils. Season the salad with salt and pepper and transfer it to the serving dish. Top the marinated feta and mint dressing and the toasted pine nuts and serve.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.