I have vacation belly. The syndrome where you start with great intentions of healthful eating while on holiday (“maybe I’ll have half a freezie every other day”) and quickly surrender to all-out gluttony. It starts with, “Well, I can’t get these duck rillettes in Ontario so of course I should have them for breakfast on a warm croissant” and ends tragically with, “Where else can I eat licorice Nibs and McNuggets for lunch if not in Quebec?”
Which leads me to the amazingly delicious lentil and celeriac salad I made the day we returned from holiday. Nutrition guilt led me to this pulse-based dish (also I had meant to make it the week before we left for holiday and the poor celeriac was losing all life sitting in the fridge). Plus I’ve been dying to try some of the recipes in my new cookbook, “Plenty“. It’s the second from Yotam Ottolenghi, based on recipes from his UK restaurant and this book is all veggie. (Which we need more of in this household.)
Without further ado, I introduce “Celeriac and Lentil Salad with Hazelnuts and Mint”. Here is the original recipe from Ottoleghi’s Guardian column.
You begin with about a 1.5 pd celeriac aka celery root (I forgot to take the picture BEFORE peeling, sorry). And slice into 3/4 inch pieces.
Then you pop these into boiling water for 8-10 minutes until softened. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile you gather your lentils, some thyme and a couple bay leaves, add 3 cups water and bring to a boil.
You are supposed to use Puy lentils (which stay nice and firm when cooked) but I could not find them at the bulk store and so used what I had aka “lentils in the plastic container” (which I think may have been the French lentils anyway). Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are cooked but still have bite to them (15 minutes or so).
Just to make sure the oven is not feeling left out, preheat to 275 F and toast 1/3 cup hazelnuts. Skin on. Cool and roughly chop. Set aside.
Chop up some fresh mint. Easiest to roll the leaves into a “cigar shape” and chiffonade.
Drain your lentils and while they are still hot (so that they absorb flavour) add olive oil, hazelnut oil (could not get this so substituted walnut oil), good red wine vinegar and a generous amount of salt. Plus some fresh pepper. Mix gently. Add the celeriac and hazelnuts and serve warm….
…or room temperature. Just hold off adding the hazelnuts and mint til just before serving and adjust seasoning. You will probably need a bit more vinegar.
Lusciously healthy, this would make the best brown bag lunch ever. With chicken McNuggets and Nibs.