Mushroom and Lentil Salad

This salad is a great way to showcase fresh mushrooms. We used large oyster mushrooms in our version, but you can use shiitake, portobello, or even crimini or button mushrooms in a pinch. There are a few components to this dish, but the lentils and dressing can be made several days ahead.

Lentils

1 tablespoon canola or olive oil

½ cup (100 grams) French lentils (also called lentilles du Puy or Puy lentils), use green lentils as a substitute

2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add lentils and toast in oil for a minute or so, until they start to darken. Add vinegar and stir—the vinegar will get very “whiffy,” don’t inhale it! Add salt and enough water to cover the lentils by 2 inches.

Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender. Depending on the age of your lentils, this could take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside. You can make the lentils up to 2 days ahead.

Dressing

3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¾ teaspoon salt

4 grinds freshly ground black pepper

⅔ cup olive oil

Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if desired. You can make the dressing up to a week ahead. Store in the refrigerator.

Finish the salad

2 tablespoons canola or olive oil

1 pint mushrooms, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces

¼ teaspoon salt

½ medium onion, cut in half from tip to stem end, peeled

½ bunch (about ½ pound) Swiss chard, cut into strips or 3 cups (about ½ pound), spinach leaves, stemmed

In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer add the mushrooms to the pan. Don’t move them for a minute, to get a nice sear on them. Season with salt. They will start to release water. Stir occasionally until tender, about 5 minutes.

While the mushrooms are cooking, slice the onion into thin half moons.

Toss the mushrooms, warm lentils, sliced onion and chard together with pomegranate dressing. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.