Don’t let “smoky yogurt” make you think I’ve gone all cheffy on you. Yeah, in the restaurant the yogurt is actually smoked, but then I realized there’s some great-quality smoked sea salts out there that would also give you that effect (and you have to season the yogurt with salt anyway, so there you go). Liquid smoke also came up as a way to make this recipe more home cook–friendly, and though I dismissed it as a hack at first, I don’t believe the finest of palates could tell the difference between the real thing and the bottled thing. As for the crispy lentils, that idea came from Jonathon Sawyer, the amazing chef and wild man from Cleveland. He’s a total process guy, and every time I talk to him he’s got some technique he’s doing that’s really cool and delicious. He taught me that one way to get incredibly crispy lentils is to cook them until they’re tender, Cryovac them with a lot of olive oil and salt, and let them cure for a month before frying them. The final product is really good, but sorry, Johnny. Perry soaks them overnight and fries them in a skillet, and they’re just about as good. Perfect for all your crunchy-bit needs, or even on their own by the handful as a snack. So you got your yogurt, you got your roots, you got your chicories drizzled with dill vinaigrette, and then there’s the smoky yogurt and crispy lentils over the top. It’s a pretty solid deal.
Roasted and marinated root vegetables
Cooking for Good Times
by Paul Kahan
MAKE THE CRISPY LENTILS Drain the lentils well, shaking off as much excess water as you can. Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium high-heat until it shimmers and looks like it could almost smoke. Carefully add the lentils (they might sputter a bit) and cook until crisp, about 2 minutes, stirring often so they don’t stick to the bottom. Drain off as much oil from the pan as you can and transfer the lentils to a paper towel–lined plate. Season with the kosher salt and cayenne while still warm. Set aside until ready to serve or let cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
MAKE THE SMOKY YOGURT In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, oil, vinegar, chile flakes, smoked salt, and water. Whisk until well combined. Set aside until ready to serve or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
MAKE THE DILL VINAIGRETTE Combine the oil, shallot, dill leaves, lime zest and juice, the brown sugar, kosher salt, jalapeño, and chile flakes in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake it until it all comes together. Set aside until ready to use or store in the fridge for up to 2 days (the dill gets a little funky if it sits longer than that).
PUT IT TOGETHER AND SERVE Spread the yogurt over a serving plate. Scatter the root vegetables over the yogurt and tuck in the chicory leaves and apple slices. Spoon the vinaigrette over and top with fried lentils and the chopped dill.
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