Spring Vegetable and Lentil Salad
Chef Rob Clarke’s spring salad combines roasted asparagus, radish, English peas and fiddleheads with wild leek vinaigrette and a tarragon cashew crème fraiche.
1 cup fresh peas 2 cups fiddleheads 2 cups beluga lentils ¼ cup wild leek vinaigrette 4 radishes Salt, to taste Salad greens of your choosing
Tarragon Cashew Crème Fraîche
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight 1 cup tarragon, roughly chopped (stem included) ½ cup white balsamic vinegar Salt, to taste
Wild Leek Vinaigrette
30 mL white balsamic vinegar 1 L wild leek leaves ¼ cup olive oil 2 tbsp salt 2 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard 2 tsp maple syrup 1 cup grapeseed oil
2 bunches of asparagus 2 bunches of hakurai turnips, halved Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
2. For the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients and blend until emulsified.
3. Toss the prepped asparagus and turnips in ¼ of olive oil. Lay the spears out on a baking sheet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for about 7-8 minutes or until the spears are knife tender.
4. Once the cashews have soaked overnight, strain and rinse them. Combine all ingredients for the crème fraîche in a blender and puree until smooth. Store in refrigerator for later use.
5. For the candied walnuts, heat a medium sized pot on high and add the walnuts, sugar and water. Mix well. Once the nuts are coated, let sit until the sugar starts to melt, then start stirring with a wooden spoon. As the sugar starts to caramelize, sprinkle in the salt and pepper. When the sugar gets to a dark amber, pour the nuts onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. (Caution: The sugar is very hot!) Set aside to cool.
6. In a large pot, bring approximately 4 cups of water to a boil with 1 tbsp of salt. Add the fresh peas and blanch for approximately 1 minute. Transfer them to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process, then set aside.
7. Using the same pot of boiling water, repeat the process with the fiddleheads, blanching for 3 minutes. Transfer to cold water, then set aside on a parchment lined baking sheet.
8. Heat lentils in a non-stick sauce pan on medium and add ¼ cup of the wild leek vinaigrette. Add a pinch of salt. Once the lentils have warmed through, add in the blanched peas. While the lentils are heating, warm the fiddleheads for 5 minutes in the oven.
1. Take a heaping spoonful of the tarragon cashew crème fraîche and smear it on one side of the plate. Place the warmed lentils and peas on the other side.
2. Top the lentils with the roasted fiddleheads, asparagus and turnips
3. Lightly dress salad greens of your choice with the leek vinaigrette and place over the roasted vegetables.
4. Garnish with thinly sliced radishes and prinkle the candied black pepper walnuts over the greens. Serve and enjoy!