Mayonnaise is so rich it cuts the heat of the Sriracha sauce and mellows the saltiness of the miso paste without overwhelming either; smoking lentils with wood chips adds an unexpected dimension to this unusual salad. —NBrush
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: NBrush is a FOOD52er with recipes inspired by international flavors.
WHAT: A rich salad packed with flavor: mesquite smokiness, spiciness, and the sweet funk of miso.
HOW: A simple lentil saute is elevated to new heights from a brief stint smoking (!) in the grill with wood chips before a sriracha-miso mayonnaise brings everything together.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The best salads transcend their ingredients to develop flavors you'd never guess their components could take on. We look forward to packing this in our lunches for weeks to come. —The Editors
In a large heat-proof bowl mix the lentils, cumin, onion and garlic powders then add enough boiling water to cover then soak, covered for 20 minutes.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, lower the heat to medium, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the onion, celery and kosher salt, cover and cook for 3-5 minutes until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in the carrots and the drained lentils. Add the vegetable broth, adjust the heat to high and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for 15- 20 minutes until the lentils are just tender. Spread the lentils evenly on two rimmed baking sheets and leave at room temperature.
Meanwhile, soak the wood chips in a small bowl with enough water to cover for 20 minutes.
Adjust the heat on a grill to medium high. Drain and wrap the wood chips in a pouch made out of aluminum foil. Pierce the pouch several times, place near the grill’s heating element (or according to grill directions) and close the grill. After 10 minutes, place one tray of lentils in the grill, close and smoke for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the smoke subside for 5 minutes. The lentils will turn a little red. Reserve the other tray of lentils unsmoked.
Finish the mayonnaise while the lentils are smoking. In a small bowl thoroughly mix the Sriracha sauce and miso paste with the mayonnaise, cover and refrigerate.
Allow the lentils to cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Transfer both trays to a large mixing bowl and gently fold half of the mayo. Refrigerate, covered until well chilled about 2-4 hours.
Add the cucumbers, tomatoes and onions to the lentils and combine. Fold the rest of the Sriracha Miso Mayonnaise into the bowl, mix and refrigerate until chilled. Top with a few grinds of ground pepper and serve.