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Food and prop stylist Jess Damuck worked with Martha Stewart for more than a decade, and one of her roles was Martha's personal salad chef. She's developed and styled content for magazines, food websites and Chrissy Teigen's cookbook Cravings and even credits herself with giving Snoop Dogg his first homemade crouton. Ha!
Here, she shares her easy, super-tasty lentil salad with roast chicken, carrots and chili crisp from her new cookbook, Salad Freak.
"Even though I long to be crunchy in the way of having a pantry full of bulk-bin dried beans, I rarely remember to soak them until I've already begun cooking everything else in a dish. Enter the lentil, a quicker-cooking legume that is ready in about a half hour. If you want to feed a few more people, roast a whole chicken. Swap the chicken for feta cheese to make it vegetarian. Just don't forget the chili crisp. It warms this dish up and gives it an incredible amount of flavor." —Jess
For the chili crisp, peel and thinly slice the shallots and the garlic cloves on a mandoline. They should be thinner than a coin. Add the shallots and garlic to a small pot with the oil. Simmer over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. You want them to be deep golden brown, but not too brown (they will start to become bitter!).
Meanwhile, peel the ginger. Using a rasp, grate it into a small heatproof bowl (you should have about 2 tablespoons), then add the red pepper flakes, honey, soy sauce, and cinnamon.
Carefully strain the pot of garlic and shallots through a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl. Let the crispy bits continue to crisp up on a paper towel-lined plate and let your oil sit until it cools to room temperature, then combine the oil and the crispy bits. Store in the fridge for about a month.
For the salad, peel 2 bunches baby carrots and cut them in half lengthwise. Peel 2 oranges and thinly slice into rounds. Separate the leaves of the 1 head radicchio and tear into bite-size pieces; wash and spin dry.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add 1 cup lentils, reduce to a simmer, partially cover and cook until there is just a little bit of tooth left, about 35 minutes for beluga and slightly less for Le Puy. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Season 2 chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of the oil from the chili crisp (just the oil, not the crispy bits because they will burn!). Place the chicken, skin-side down, in the pan and cook without moving it until the skin is deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip the chicken over so the skin side is up and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the chicken until golden and cooked all the way through, 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the size). Set aside (leave the oven on).
Put the carrots and 2 tablespoons of oil from the chili crisp (again; just the oil, not the crispy bits) on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss around until coated. Roast until deep brown, but not charred, 15 to 20 minutes.
To assemble and serve, scatter the lentils and radicchio on a serving plate. Place the carrots on top. Remove the chicken from the bones, cut it into thin slices, and snuggle these on top. Arrange the orange slices around the plate and top with a generous amount of chili crisp.
Adapted from Salad Freak by Jess Damuck. Copyright © 2022 by Jess Damuck. Used with permission by Harry N. Abrams. All rights reserved.