From Food52's Mighty Salads, this is everything I want to eat right now. I've changed the recipe only every so slightly so the instructions include the toasting of the nuts and so the lentils get on the stove a little earlier.
What I love about this salad especially in addition to the many flavors and textures is the combination of roasted radicchio and raw. I've had success using Tuscan kale in place of the radicchio, too, so know that you can change up the vegetables to taste. This whole recipe can be used as a template in fact: swap up the nuts, the cheese, the herbs, etc.
A few other tips:
Cauliflower: The first time I made this, I loaded a sheet pan with a head of cauliflower florets. When I tossed them with the salad, I realized the importance of cutting the florets into small pieces, which I had not done. Think about the size you would want to eat if you were eating a salad. Also, you might only need half a head of cauliflower. I love cauliflower and could eat a whole sheet pan of it alone, but when I measured 450g of cauliflower, I was surprised by the amount — when spread on a sheet pan, there should be breathing room between the florets. And I think 450g is the right amount for this salad. If you don't have a scale: I found 450g filled a 4-cup Pyrex liquid measure.
I like to use about a cup of nuts — the crunch is so good in this salad. Sometimes I throw in more currants, too, because I like the sweet bites.
- Serves 4
- For the Salad:
small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (450 g), see notes above
olive oil, plus more as needed
Aleppo pepper or freshly ground black pepper
French green lentils, rinsed
bay leaf, if you have it
walnuts or more to taste
head radicchio, cored and chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cups
coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
- For the Dressing:
extra-virgin olive oil
fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
currants or more to taste
- Heat the oven to 400ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the cauliflower into a single layer on the baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil, the Aleppo pepper, if using, and kosher salt all over. Add more oil if necessary. Spread into a single layer again and roast until the cauliflower is light brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the lentils, bay leaf, if using, and a few pinches of salt in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by at least an inch. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until tender, 20 to 25 minutes (or longer—sometimes mine take as long as 30). Add additional water if needed.
- Place the nuts in a medium sauté pan and toast over low heat until golden brown — keep a close watch! Transfer nuts to a board and coarsely chop.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss half of the radicchio with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the cauliflower is light brown, scatter the remaining undressed radicchio on the sheet and roast until the radicchio is wilted and the cauliflower is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let cool.
- To make the vinaigrette, finely chop the anchovies and smash them into a paste with the side of a chef's knife. Combine with the remaining ingredients and whisk until emulsified. Add more lemon to taste.
- Drain the lentils well, discard the bay leaf, and transfer to the large bowl with the dressed radicchio. Toss the lentils, while they are still warm, with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Add a few pinches of salt.
- Toss in the roasted cauliflower and radicchio, 1/4 cup of the tarragon, and walnuts to the bowl. Toss with more vinaigrette until evenly dressed. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon juice if needed. Add the remaining 1/4 cup tarragon if you wish. Just before serving, crumble the goat cheese over the salad and gently toss. Serve warm or at room temperature.