Crunchy Cucumber, Radish and Lentil Salad with Pickled Shrimp and Shallots
I have a bit of an odd habit that precedes major holidays: I like to clean out my refrigerator. There is something about having that space spic ‘n span that makes me feel organized and prepared for anything. If you think about it, what better time to use up produce bits and leftovers? It’s the best way to make space for platters of party food and pitchers of lemonade.
To be perfectly honest, my fridge is a joy to clean. I merely have to downside a few containers, wipe the shelves clean, and tidy the ever-growing collection of condiments. KitchenAid has a collection of refrigerators equipped to tackle humidity, ethylene gas and odours – all of which contribute to over-ripening produce. They are so good at keeping food fresh, that I seldom have food waste.
Thanks to the Preserva® Food Care System in my KitchenAid® refrigerator, the lifespan of produce is extended so I can stock up on fresh summer produce at the local markets with the confidence in knowing that my refrigerator will maximize their taste and texture. Cucumber stays firm, cabbage remains crisp and even small radishes stay plump and crunchy.
I also like to store food in jars to easily see what is inside. Jars aren’t just for jams and pickles. They also can hold vinaigrettes, sauces, cut fruit and cooked legumes and grains.
I frequently get asked how I store fresh herbs – which is a great question. Place the stems of fresh herbs in a jar with a few inches of water. This will keep them vibrant, especially with the Preserva® system.
Now that we’re heading toward Canada Day, I am readying my refrigerator for a holiday weekend. There must be space for picnic salads, sweet melon and plenty of crispy vegetables for snacking. Oh, and I had better make space for my husband’s craft beer. July 1st is also his birthday, so we celebrate twice as hard!
I’ve been thinking a lot about what constitutes a delicious picnic salad. There must be crunch and plenty of textures. It should sing with flavour and transport easily. Also, do-ahead is a bonus.
This recipe for Crunchy Cucumber, Radish and Lentil Salad with Pickled Shrimp & Shallots was inspired by a recent refrigerator purge. You can serve the salad and shrimp together or separately; family-style in a large bowl or in jam jars for individual servings. Just add a crusty baguette or a stack of soft pita bread and you are set for a delicious Canada Day picnic.
Crunchy Cucumber, Radish and Lentil Salad with Pickled Shrimp & Shallots
For the Pickled Shrimp & Shallots
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup sherry vinegar
½ tsp celery seed, crushed
1 tsp fine sea salt
¾ cup olive oil
6 bay leaves
¼ tsp whole peppercorn
454 grams cooked, peeled shrimp (31-40)
2 shallots, peeled
For the Crunchy Cucumber, Radish and Lentil Salad
1 cup French lentils
1 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tsp grainy mustard
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups finely chopped red cabbage
½ English cucumber
½ cup chopped parsley
For the Pickled Shrimp & Shallots
In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, sherry vinegar, celery seeds and salt. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking to combine.
Thinly slice shallots into rounds. Toss shrimp with sliced shallots, and then transfer to a 1 litre wide mouth jar.
Pour marinade over the shrimp. Tuck bay leaves around the shrimp. Cover jar with a lid and place in the refrigerator. Chill overnight in fridge or for up to three days. Turn the jar on its head once every 12 hours to evenly marinade the shrimps.
For the Crunchy, Cucumber, Radish and Lentil Salad
In a medium pot, combine lentils with 2 ½ cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt, stir the lentils, then cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let stand until lukewarm. Fluff the lentils and cool completely. At this point, the lentils may be refrigerated for up to two days.
In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, sherry vinegar and pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil and combine until smooth. Pour the dressing over the lentils and mix well.
In a generous bowl, combine lentils and chopped red cabbage. Dice the cucumber and the radishes and mix into the salad.
Just before serving, toss in the chopped parsley and mix the salad well. Taste and add additional finishing salt if required.
Heap pickled shrimp on top of the salad. Add a few pickled shallots as well. Drizzle with a little of the olive oil and serve.