I created this recipe in Colorado, where I had ready access to that state’s Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy’s sublime cheese called Haystack Peak. If you can get that cheese for this or any other dish, do it! The vinegar and the creaminess of the lentils are a perfect match for a creamy goat cheese.
Ideally, your cheese should be at the perfect ripeness, where the cheese just under the rind has become creamy and the rest of the cheese tastes creamy and yet is still firm.–Laura Werlin
Goat Cheese and Lentil Salad Recipe
Hands-On Time: | Total Time: | Makes 8 servings
- For the lentils
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus whole sprigs, for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- For the salad
- 4 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch dice
- 1 large celery stalk, cut into 1/8-inch dice
- About 1 cup peeled, finely diced English cucumber
- 1 whole (about 8 ounces) Haystack Peak cheese or any soft-ripened goat cheese, preferably with ash, such as Humboldt Fog
- Cook the lentils
- 1. Fill a 2-quart saucepan about halfway with water. Add the lentils and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the lentils are tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a strainer or small-holed colander. Remove and discard the garlic and let cool to room temperature.
- Make the dressing
- 2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegars, mustard, dill, salt, and pepper to taste. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly to emulsify the dressing. Set aside. (You can make this 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate, but bring to room temperature before using.)
- Make the salad
- 3. In a medium-size bowl, mix the lentils with the scallions, carrots, celery, and cucumber. Add the dressing and mix gently. Add a little salt, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Let sit for at least 15 minutes and preferably up to 1 hour at room temperature.
- 4. Cut the cheese horizontally two-thirds of the way down from the top. Cut the two pieces into quarters by crisscrossing to make 8 triangular pieces. If you’re not using a pyramid-shape cheese, then simply cut the cheese into 1-ounce portions.
- 5. Put about 1/4 cup lentils on each of 8 salad plates. Lay a piece of cheese on the side of the salad (rather than directly in the center) but still touching the beans. Garnish each plate with a dill sprig.
Goat Cheese and Lentil Salad Recipe © 2007 Laura Werlin. Photo © 2007 Maren Caruso. All rights reserved.