Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Celeriac & Lentils with Hazelnut and Mint Salad

Ottolenghi calls this Celeriac & Lentils with Hazelnut and Mint salad "a hearty autumn main course." Living where we don''t have big seasonal differences anyway and wanting to cook with celeriac, I added some leftover/extra local fresh sweet corn and I am calling it a "seasonless" main course or a side dish when accompanied by some perfectly cooked Copper River Sockeye salmon. ;-)

Celeriac & Lentils with Hazelnut and Mint Salad 
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
(Serves 4)

1/3 cup whole hazelnuts, skin on
1 cup Puy lentils (I used small green lentils) 
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
1 small celeriac (1 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 3/8-inch strips 
(I added 3/4 cup of fresh sweet corn) 
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp hazelnut oil (I used walnut oil)  
3 Tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar (I used raspberry red wine vinegar) 
salt and black pepper
4 Tbsp chopped fresh mint 

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Scatter hazelnuts on a small baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Let cool and chop roughly. (I peeled/rubbed the skins off first.) 

Combine lentils, water, bay leaves and thyme into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until al dente. Drain.

In a separate saucepan, cook celeriac in plenty of boiling salted water for 8-12 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.

In a large bowl mix the hot lentils with the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the hazelnut oil (I didn't have hazelnut oil so I used walnut oil instead), the vinegar and plenty of salt and black pepper to taste. Add celeriac and stir well. Taste an adjust seasoning as needed.

When ready to serve, stir in half of the mint and half the hazelnuts. Pile into a serving bowl and drizzle the remaining hazelnut oil on top. Garnish with the remaining mint and hazelnuts and serve.

Notes/Results: Another great Ottolenghi combination of flavors and textures. Although I had my ingredients purchased and had planned to make this for our "pulses" theme before seeing my pal Sue's version post at Couscous & Consciousness, but seeing her variation just sealed the deal. I loved the color her additions of roasted red pepper and pickled lemon added to the mix. I was thinking of adding the sweetness of dried fruit to my version but since I had the kernels from an ear or so of fresh sweet local corn leftover from another recipe, I tossed that in instead. The corn and the raspberry wine vinegar I used added the touch of sweet I was looking for. I have not cooked much with celeriac, although I frequently come across it at the local grocery store. I like the subtle celery flavor and silky texture it added. 

This salad was very good warm, served alongside a moist and flaky piece of gorgeous Copper River salmon (just pan-fried with salt and pepper and lightly dressed with lemon) and my final dab of quick-pickled lemons (ala Sue's idea!) It was even better after it sat overnight, eaten cold on its own, and with leftover salmon for lunch the next day. I would make this again.  

Our theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs is "Got a Pulse"--recipes with beans, lentils and legumes. You can check out what everyone made by following the links. 


  1. it, and would love to live in paradise like you do. Looks delicious!

  2. Hi Deb!
    Just popped by from Zoe's blog. I don't know why I thought you were no longer blogging. Silly me:) Anyway, I'm delighted to see you are including Celeriac in this recipe. I really should use it more often. I Would imagine it is a wonderful flavor enhancer with lentils. Great dish, Deb, Thanks for sharing...

  3. Hi Deb,

    I love Ottolenghi cooking too. Their salads are very refreshing and usually with lots of lemon :D

    Although this salad doesn't have any lemon, it looks refreshing with fresh mint and a small splash of good oils. Yum!


  4. I drooled over this when Sue made it too! Such a beautiful dish.

  5. I wish I could get myself to like celeriac because this salad sounds great!

  6. Deb- Your version with the corn looks incredible! I must say your salmon looks so incredible that I now have a salmon craving. The color is so pretty and it looks perfectly cooked.

  7. Hey Joanne, I think this salad would work well with fennel in place of the celeriac--I may try it again that way since it is easier to get locally here.

  8. Hey Kim,
    Thanks! I was pretty proud of the salmon. I usually roast it and all the white "gunk" comes out but I was reading about cooking it skin side down in a pan coated with hot oil and keeping it that way until the very end flip and sear for a minute or two on the top. It worked like a charm, wasn't overcooked and no white "gunk." Also the Copper River salmon has such a gorgeous color to begin with. ;-)

  9. Thanks Foodycat!

  10. Thanks Zoe! The vinegar adds that brightness and acidity but I think you could throw some lemon in too. ;-)

  11. Hi Louise,
    Still here--not blogging quite as often. ;-) Nice to see you again. It was fun to work with the celeriac--I need to use it more.

  12. Me too, and it's good to see you too, Deb. I'll be popping back real soon:)

  13. Deb, this salad is so pretty! It looks especially nice against the salmon--good pairing! I'm totoally using the salmon tip. It's the white gunk that turns me of.

  14. Thanks Michelle! The salmon trip really worked like a charm. Easier to do with the thinner cuts of salmon I think. ;-)

  15. Your salad looks delicious! I like to use celeriac in place of celery when I can - milder flavour, no strings, no bitterness.

  16. kitchen flavoursJuly 2, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    Hi Deb,
    Lovely salad, I have not cooked with celeriac before, have heard of it, but have not seen it here before.
    I'm late for last week's pulse, but I'm glad I did not skip it!

  17. Couscous & ConsciousnessJuly 2, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    I'm so pleased you made this one and enjoyed it as much as I did - thanks for the mention. I liked it better the next day too and I also loved it with salmon. Love your inclusion of the corn kernels, and I bet the raspberry red wine vinegar was great in it too.


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