I have never been a natural salad eater. I have had to work hard at becoming one. Some of the keys to my enjoying a salad are that they need to have more than just leaves and few salad veggies in them. I like them to have crunch and softness. Tangy, tart and sweet notes. Proteins, diary, nuts and or seeds and a wide variety of veggies and leaves. I don't like them to be drenched in mayo or oil and I'm not crazy about balsamic vinegar. I hate raisins in my salad and am iffy about fruit in a salad. And I don't like eating salad when its cold outside. But besides that...
I now eat a lot of salad and am always looking out for new and interesting ones. A dear friend and very talented cook made a salad for me a while ago which I just couldn't get enough of. I have been dying to try to recreate it using the guide lines she gave me. I'm not sure if I properly did it justice but this recipe is as close as I could get.
Caramelised baby onion and lentil salad
10 pickling onions or shallots, trimmed and peeled
1 Tbsp of olive oil
½ tsp of salt
2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar
2 tsp of sugar
1 tin of lentils, well washed and drained
1 tsp of lemon zest
2 Tbsp of lemon juice
2 Tbsp of chopped fresh herbs (thyme, oreganum, parsley, basil)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp of sugar
¼ tsp of salt (or to taste)
125g of baby rosa tomatoes, halved
2 handfuls of baby spinach, well washed
1/2 a cup of crumbled feta
Reserve some tomatoes and herbs for garnish
In a sauce pan gently fry the onions in the oil, adding dashes of water from time to time. Keep a lid on the pot, but slightly open a crack. After about 10 – 15 minutes depending on the size of the onions, add the seasoning and vinegar and fry until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat and leave with the lid on.
While frying the onions, combine all the lentil ingredients. Once the onions have cooled, add them to the lentils and refrigerate until well cooled.
To serve, arrange the spinach on a platter, scatter with the lentil onion mixture and garnish with the feta, tomato and herbs.