Ivory Lentil Mediterranean Salad

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The Stein Eriksen lodge is a beautiful hotel in Deer Valley, Utah. The namesake is the gold medalist Stein Eriksen, a downhill skier from Norway.

The hotel has such a wonderful Norwegian ambiance with its unique furniture, textiles, and design. We fell in love with the hotel itself, but best of all was discovering brunch at the hotel’s restaurant, the Glitretind.


We’ve been going back as often as we can – just for brunch. We’ve taken our children there, children with friends, then children with husbands, then grand children. The restaurant is family oriented, and definitely skier-oriented during ski season, but still maintains high-end, high-quality food in a cozy, European-style setting. The view from the Glitretind is also stunning, no matter what time of year.

Recently we took my mother there for brunch on her 91st birthday. And, as always, it was a perfect experience, including a surprise treat for my mother. And let me tell you, this brunch is a buffet. I’ve never been a buffet fan. Somehow, the Glitretind pulls buffet off well.

So, while brunching at the Glitretind with the birthday girl, and perusing the salads, one caught my attention. It was an ivory lentil salad. I’m familiar with tan, brown, green, and black lentils… but ivory?!! I just had to have it. And the salad was wonderful.

So I went to my favorite online grocery store, Amazon, and I found ivory lentils sold by Barry Farms, which is a company that sells high-quality grains and beans. Turns out ivory lentils are the insides of black beans!

This is my version of a Mediterranean salad using ivory lentils, with roasted vegetables and some extra goodies, all tossed in a creamy dressing.

Ivory Lentil Mediterranean Salad

16 ounces ivory lentils, pre-soaked for 4-5 hours

1 large purple onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 small lemon
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon tomato paste or a few sun-dried tomato halves
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic
Salt

Canned artichoke bottoms or hearts, quartered
Sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
Kalamata olives, sliced

Turn the oven to 400 degrees F, or to a high roasting position.

While the oven is heating, start the lentils cooking using water or vegetable broth. This step took me 20 minutes with the pre-soaked lentils.


Rinse gently and set aside to cool.

Toss the onions and bell peppers in a bowl and toss with the oil, salt, and pepper.

Pour the vegetables into a roasting pan, and when the oven is at temperature, roast the vegetables until nicely charred, about 20-25 minutes.

Turn off the oven, let the vegetables cool.

Place the slightly warm lentils in a large bowl along with the roasted vegetables and any remaining olive oil in the pan.

Add the quartered artichoke bottoms. I am in love with this product.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a blender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in about 1/3 of the vinaigrette and gently combine.


To serve, place the salad in a shallow serving dish.

Top with the sun-dried tomatoes and olive slices.

If desired, drizzle on a little more dressing.

So many ingredients could be included in this salad, like feta cheese for example. But I really liked the simplicity of what I created, which was inspired by the salad I enjoyed at brunch.

I will definitely purchase ivory lentils again, mostly because they’re so pretty. They don’t have the same flavor as Le Puy, which is my favorite lentil variety, but then, they’re really not lentils.

Crêpes

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I’ve had a love affair with crêpes since I was a little girl, which is when I learned how to make them. I would make a “stack,” sprinkle a little white sugar on them, and eat them just like that for breakfast.

My first introduction to crêpes was when my mother made Crêpes Suzette. My French friend Stéphane from My French Heaven gave me some interesting factoids about this fabulous, flaming dessert and crêpes in general!

♥ Crèpes Suzette is a recent thing: In the early 1900’s, Edward VI was having crêpes in a restaurant on the riviera. The chef had flambéed Grand Marnier with them. Edward asked the waitress what it was but she didn’t have a name for the dish. So the king asked what her name was, which was Suzette. They have been called crêpes Suzette ever since.

♥ As for savory crêpes, they are an ancient specialty from Bretagne. They are made with black wheat and are called galettes. Only the sweet ones can be called crêpes.

A galette with ham and egg

A galette with ham and egg

♥ You eat crêpes with apple cider always as they produce a lot of apples there (Bretagne is close to Normandy).

♥ The restaurants where they serve crêpes only are called crêperies. The best ones have a chef who is a Maître Crêpier.

Photo from retagne by Stephane Gabart

Photo from Bretagne by Stephane Gabart

After seeing the above photo, I put Bretagne on my travel bucket list. Besides, I want to one day try the real deal in a crêperie.

There are many different recipes for crêpe batter, and I’m sure they’re all good. The only rule in making the batter for crêpes, to me, is the consistency. Once you have that, you get proper crêpes. If the batter is too thick, you get pancakes, if it’s too thin, you get mush.

Here is a basic recipe for crêpes, whether you’re going to use them in a sweet or savory manner:

Crêpes
makes about 20

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons oil*
Couple pinches of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

Whisk together the egg, milk, and salt together well in a medium bowl. Gradually add the flour, whisking gently but not over-whisking, until it is all incorporated and there are no flour lumps.


Set the bowl aside for at least 5 minutes to make sure it doesn’t thicken. If it does, add a tiny bit of milk or even water to get the consistency back to where it should be.

To prepare to make the crêpes, have a well-seasoned crêpe pan on hand. Mine has angled sides and an 8″ flat bottom, made from steel. I’ve had it for 42 years. I know this, because my mother sent me off to college with the same pan!

Also have on hand some butter, the batter and large spoon (about 1/4 cup capacity is perfect), a spatula, and a plate on which to place the cooked crêpes. I always use a very sturdy but thin, flat spatula to help lift the thin pancakes.

Heat a little dab of butter over medium-high heat in the crêpe pan. I personally prefer butter because of the flavor. You might have to start with about a teaspoon of butter, and subsequently use about 1/2 teaspoon per crêpe.

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Before starting, give the crêpe batter a whisk. Now is the time to test its thickness. Add a little liquid if necessary.

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When the butter is hot, add a full spoonful, or approximately 1/4 cup of batter, to the pan. With the other hand, turn and tilt the pan until the crêpe batter has covered the whole bottom of the pan. Cook for no more than 30 seconds, then turn over gently with the spatula and cook for no more than 10 seconds. Place immediately on the plate by sliding or flipping over.


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The cooked crêpe should be lightly golden, especially on the first side, but not browned. Adjust your burner setting accordingly, keeping in mind that if the heat is too low, the batter will just sit there and nothing will happen.

The pan has to be hot enough to “grab” the batter. If the pan is too hot, it will cause the batter to become bubbly and you probably won’t be able to spread it around. Sometimes the first crêpe is a dud because you must test the heat of the pan, and the batter.

Continue with the remaining batter.
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These crêpes will hold well for a day or two, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. Then you can use them as you want. They must be brought to room temperature first, or they will not roll or fold without breaking. Even a little heating in the microwave will help make them more malleable.
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Besides some sugar, crêpes are also good with a little jam and some berries!

* When I make savory or sweet crêpes I use olive oil, but if you prefer, you can use a flavorless oil. Also, if you want a sweeter dessert crêpe, you can add a little sugar to the batter.