For our November 2018 “Feast Around the World” feature, we asked five of the state’s top chefs to create festive meals to serve this season. What we got was a cornucopia of global flavors.
Chef Stephen Rogers spent many summers in the Mediterranean, and the fun, casual cuisine there inspired not only his newest Dallas restaurant, Sachet, but his feast as well. Below is the appetizer for Rogers’s “Mediterranean Medley” menu.
⅓ cup walnut halves, toasted (reserve 6 to garnish lentils)
2 large red bell peppers, roasted (or 1 cup jarred roasted peppers, drained and chopped)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 Fresno chile, seeded and chopped, optional
1 to 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses (the flavor is more tart and astringent than sweet)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (can substitute paprika and a pinch of cayenne)
salt to taste
Coarsely chop the reserved walnuts and set aside. In a food processor, pulse the remaining walnuts until finely ground, then add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Serve with lentils.
French Lentil and Piquillo Pepper Salad
Serves 4 as an appetizer
1 cup (8 ounces) French lentils
2 bay leaves
1 whole medium shallot, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (reserve some sprigs for garnish)
2 tablespoons minced shallot, soaked in ice water for 5 minutes and drained
½ cup diced piquillo peppers
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons good olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Have at least a dozen ice cubes on hand. Put lentils in a saucepan along with bay leaves, whole shallot, garlic cloves, salt, and 2 to 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, skimming off any foam and checking for doneness every minute after 18 minutes; lentils should be tender but firm. Remove from heat, pour off water and aromatics, and quickly put lentils in a mixing bowl with the ice cubes and enough water to cover. When cool (a few minutes), pour off water and add remaining ingredients, mixing gently. Taste, adding more salt if needed.
To serve, spoon several tablespoons of Muhammara on each salad plate. Top with lentils and garnish with the chopped walnuts and sprigs of parsley.