Caviar Lentil & Cougar Gold Cheese Salad with Belgian Endive, Spiced Pecans and Orange Supremes

Caviar Lentil & Cougar Gold Cheese Salad with Belgian Endive, Spiced Pecans and Orange Supremes
Created By: Executive Chef Jamie Callison, Washington State University
Use: Caviar Black Lentils, Madeline French Green Lentils, Pardina Brown Lentils
Yields: 4 servings

Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Jamie Callison, as featured in The Crimson Spoon cookbook. Photo courtesy of Ashley Callison.

Chef's note: "If you haven’t tried lentils in a salad, you are in for a special treat. Their nutty, wholesome flavor works beautifully with the sharp cheese and juicy oranges."

If you don't have Caviar black lentils, Madeline French green and Pardina brown lentils make fine substitutes.

Ingredients for Salad:
1¼ cups dried Caviar black lentils, rinsed and sorted

2 oranges (or substitute seasonal fruit, such as nectarines or apples)

1 cup Spiced Pecans (see recipe below)

2 ounces (½ cup) crumbled Cougar Gold Cheese, or artisan-style sharp white cheddar cheese

2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

⅓ to ½ cup Champagne Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

2 medium heads Belgian endive

Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Ingredients for Spiced Pecans:
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs brown sugar
Pinch paprika
Pinch cayenne
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 cup pecans
2 Tbs red wine vinegar

Ingredients for Champagne Vinaigrette:
1 egg (see note in instructions, listed below)
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
3 Tbs finely diced shallots
4 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch fresh ground black pepper
1½ cups olive oil
1 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
1 Tbs finely sliced chives

Instructions for Salad:
Rinse and sort dried lentils, then combine with 4 cups salted water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, but still have texture, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature; refrigerate until needed.

To make orange supremes (segments), cut the top and bottom off each orange. Stand orange upright and remove the peel by slicing between the peel and the flesh. Run a knife in between the flesh and membrane of each segment, cutting toward the center of the orange. Measure ½ cup, then coarsely chop. Set remaining supremes aside.

Reserve ½ cup Spiced Pecans; coarsely chop remaining pecans.

Stir together lentils, chopped oranges, chopped pecans, cheese, cilantro, and champagne vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper.

Separate endive leaves.

Serve lentil salad with Belgian endive leaves, remaining orange segments, and whole spiced pecans. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Instructions for Spiced Pecans:
Preheat oven to 350℉.

Melt butter in a small sauté pan. Add brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, and salt; stir over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Add pecans and cook, stirring until they begin to lightly brown, about two to three minutes. Add vinegar and cook until liquid is absorbed, about one minute. Transfer pecans to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly coated with vegetable spray and bake until browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Yield: 1 cup

Instructions for Champagne Vinaigrette:
Using a food processor, immersion blender or a whisk, blend egg, champagne vinegar, shallots, Dijon, salt, sugar, lemon juice, and pepper until smooth. Add olive oil in a slow steady stream and blend until smooth and creamy. Stir in cilantro and chives. Note: Eating raw eggs can be potentially hazardous to your health. Young children, older adults and people with weakened immue systems shouldn't eat raw or undercooked eggs. If available, purchase pasteurized eggs or coddle and egg for this dressing.

Yield: 2 cups

Serving suggestions: To serve as an appetizer, place a heaping teaspoon of lentil salad on the wide end of a Belgian endive leaf. Garnish with an orange supreme, spiced pecan, and cilantro sprig. Mandarin oranges can be substituted for orange supremes.

Executive Chef Jamie Callison showcased this recipe on our Cooking Demo Stage at the 2017 National Lentil Festival. For more tasty recipes featured at Lentil Fest, click here.

Discover more delicious dishes from Executive Chef Jamie Callison in his cookbook, "The Crimson Spoon: Plating Regional Cuisine on the Palouse."