Green Lentil & Summer Corn Salad For a Crowd
Yield: 60 each 6oz. servings (360 oz., 22.5# or 2.8 gallons)
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 45 minutes
22 cups Green Lentils, cooked (see instructions below)
10 ears Corn, white or yellow
20 # Zucchini (can substitute cucumber here and omit the cooking for a crisper salad)
2.5 qt. Cherry tomatoes, halved.
5 each heads Lettuce leaves to line the plate, red leaf, butterleaf, frisee, romaine and even arugula or spinach would be delicious choices.
To cook the lentils:
Yield: 10 cups
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
10 c. Green Lentils
2.5 gal. Boiling water or stock
10 Bay leaves
6 oz. Minced garlic
6 oz. salt, kosher
In a small sauce pan add all above ingredients and bring to a boil. Then turn down to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes. While lentils are cooking roast the corn and make the vinaigrette. Start tasting the lentils after 15 minutes. All lentils are not the same and yours might cook faster than the ones I have. Once almost tender, turn off heat and let lentil rest in the remaining liquid until tender all the way through but not falling apart. Strain the lentils of the remaining liquid and then toss with the roasted corn tarragon vinaigrette below.
Tip: French lentils, while smaller take a good 10 minutes longer than green lentils. 1 cup raw french lentils yields 2 ¼ cup cooked.
Roasted Corn & Tarragon Vinaigrette
Yield: 2.5 qt.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
6 oz. Lemon Juice
1/8 c. Lemon Zest
2.5 c. Champagne Vinegar
1 c. Honey
1/8th c. Dijon
1/8th c. Shallots, minced
1/8th c. Tarragon, minced
1.5 T. Salt, kosher
7.5 c. Canola Oil
10 c. Roasted Corn removed from cob (approximately 7 ears of corn)
To roast the corn remove the husk and silk and place over an open flame. Listen for popping sounds, this indicates a quick char and the sugars are caramelizing. Rotate until the entire cob is cooked, about 2 minutes per side. Cut the kernels from the cob and reserve until the base vinaigrette is made.
In a blender, mixing bowl or food processor incorporate all the ingredients together except the oil and corn. Slowly stream in the oil to form and emulsification. Add corn and adjust seasoning.
TIPS: Add the lentils to corn vinaigrette to marinate for at least one hour or overnight. This is a salad inspired by summer, but you could make a delicious version any season. Omit the corn, add apples in place and serve with grilled butternut and diced, shaved or braised fennel. Perhaps it’s mushrooms that you have a lot of. Marinate them along with the lentils in the base vinaigrette then serve on a bed of fresh lettuce of your choice for a satisfying and filling meal.
Slice squash ¼” thick and brush with oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and grill on high until tender but not mushy. The flesh should start to become partially translucent. If you do not have a grill, broil on second shelf for minutes each side, or pan fry over medium high heat until lightly caramelized. Once cooked, use a few for lining plates as garnish under the salad and dice the remaining squash into ¼” cubes, the size of the corn or slightly larger.
In a mixing bowl add cooked lentils and roasted corn vinaigrette along with the halved cherry tomatoes and diced zucchini. Toss well and adjust seasoning. Serve with a few grilled zucchini and a bed of lettuce or greens as a side dish or starter salad. This salad will be delicious served warm or chilled.