serves 4 people

1 cup green lentils du Puy
½ tsp salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
250 g of cremini mushrooms
1 clove garlic
4 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1 bunch green asparagus
1 clove garlic
4 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
pickled red onion
10 radishes
half hot red pepper, minced
1 pickled lemon
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
bibb lettuce or gem lettuce
2 handfuls of arugula (in spring I suggest using dandelion leaves)
lemon juice
thistle oil or rape oil
salt and pepper
optional  chive flowers
Earthy tones and flavors of roasted chestnut mushrooms, asparagus and cooked lentils du Puy are set off by the bright notes of preserved lemon, pickled red onion and herbs. I combined quite a big array of ingredients in this salad – so it is very substantial and filling, yet fresh and light at the same time. This salad is composed of the freshest, healthiest spring greens but also includes greens we would forage for – dandelion. Being the ever present in the northern hemisphere this plant is considered to be a weed. You can find it growing in abundance on meadows. In spring the lawns are densely covered with its yellow flowers.  Who would have guessed that this “weed” has so many healthful, beneficial properties. Dandelion leaves contain abundant vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins AC and K, and are good sources of calciumpotassiumiron and manganese. Historically, dandelion was used as a herbal remedy in Europe, North America to treat infections, liver problems, and as a diuretic. Just make sure to pick the leaves in the environmentally clean areas before the flowers bloom for it not to taste so bitter. Cooking the leaves removes some of the bitterness as well. The most traditional way to use it is to prepare the salad with a poached egg dressed with warm mustardy sauce. Soon we will have a chance to forage for those healthy beauties.

Lilia, xoxoCook the lentils: rinse and pick the lentils, transfer into a pot, pour cold water on top, add salt and  a teaspoon of baking soda. Cook over low heat until it is cooked thru, but still al. dente when bitten. In parallel, the bottom of the baking grease with oil. On top put sliced ​​mushrooms. Sprinkle it with chopped garlic and thyme, season with salt and pepper. Roast  at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces, put them on a baking tray, sprinkle with garlic and thyme, season with salt and pepper. Add a sprinkle of olive oil. Roast at the same time as mushrooms,  for 30 minutes. Pickle red onions as here. Cut the radishes into thin slices. Chop chives and parsley. Cut the red chilli pepper into small dice. In a large bowl mix together  the cooked lentils with mushrooms and asparagus. Then add to the salad the pickled red onion, red chilli and thinly sliced ​​radishes, spring onions and green parsley. Peel pickled lemon and chopp  into small cubes and add to the salad. Add the lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper, and pour some oil on top. Mix well. Let stand for an hour for the tastes to mingle together. Before serving, mix with 2 handfuls of arugula (dandelion) and Bibb lettuce and pomegranate seeds.

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