I'm getting ready for our anniversary trip, so I haven't had a lot of time to cook. My aunt from Vietnam just came for a visit. She happens to be a vegetarian as well. I met her seven years ago when she came to visit my family in Paris. I remembered that she loves edamame, or baby soybeans boiled in salt water.
I decided to make a nice salad for her that incorporated edamame. I added roasted red bell pepper, perlini mozzarella and celery, along with Beluga lentils for color. I made a dressing with garlic, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and walnut oil.
The salad has a really nice contrast of flavors, colors and textures. If you've never tried edamame before, this is a great way to get acquainted with this tasty ingredient.
Servings: 8 servings
2 red bell peppers
1 (12-ounce) package edamame beans (about 2 cups), shelled
1/4 cup Beluga lentils, pre-cooked
4 ounces perlini fresh mozarella cheese (pearl-sized bites), drained
1/4 cup non-pareil capers (see tips), drained
5 stalks celery, washed and peeled
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons salt, as needed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1-1/2 teaspoons pink peppercorns, whole
For the edamame beans: Blanch the edamame beans in about a quart of salted boiling water. Cook for about 2 minutes. Strain and immediately transfer into a cold water bath. Pat dry on a towel. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
For the roasted bell peppers: Cut the stems off the peppers. Wash the bell peppers, pat dry and brush with oil. Place a grill on your stove and char all the skin of the peppers. Wrap in aluminum foil. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes until you can handle them without discomfort. Clean the peppers using a knife; the skin will come right off. Seed them and finely chop the flesh.
For the celery: Cut the celery on the bias into 1/4- inch slices. Set aside.
Assembly time: In a large serving bowl, combine the edamame beans, roasted bell peppers, mozzarella, capers, Beluga lentils, celery and flat-leaf parsley. Add garlic, Dijon mustard, sherry vinegar, brown sugar, salt, black pepper and whole pink peppercorns. Drizzle with walnut oil. Toss to combine. Adjust seasoning if needed.
Let sit about 1 hour before serving to let all the flavors blend together. Serve at room temperature.
C'est prêt! -"It's ready" (in French).
I found the precooked Beluga lentils at Trader Joe's but you can substitute any other kind of lentils or beans.
Blanching the edamame beans will help maintain their very appetizing green color when added the salad.
I found perlini mozarella cheese at my local market. If you don't have any, just cut the mozzarella into pearl-sized pieces.
You can use regular capers but I prefer non-pareil capers. They are native to the South of France. This variety has a sharp, piquant and briny aroma. I bought them in a specialty store but you can also find them online. I love using capers; they add a nice salty and sour note in sauces and salads.
This salad is an excellent spread as well for sandwiches or as a side dish for fish, such as black bean and lemongrass cod.
You can store the salad in the refrigerator if you make it in advance. Just make sure to remove it from the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.