LENTIL SALAD WITH HAM, CHEDDAR GOAT CHEESE AND GRILLED RADICCHIO
1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 slice applewood smoked bacon (Nueske)
4 ounces Nueske smoked ham, diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup tomatoes, peel, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 mint leaves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 heads radicchio
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or spray olive oil
4 ounces cheddar goat cheese, diced
Cook the bacon in a saucepan until it is medium crisp. Take it out, drain, cool and cut into 1/2" slices. Saute the ham in the bacon fat for 1 minute to coat and warm it. Sieve pieces from the pan.
Stir the lentils into the pan, and cover with 2" water. Stir in the bay leaf, cumin, and garlic cloves. Bring liquid to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, partially covered, until the beans are just tender.
Drain the lentils, remove bay leaf and garlic cloves. When cool fold in the tomatoes, ham, mint leaves, and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat a stovetop grill for 10 minutes.
Halve the radicchio heads and cut halves into 4 wedges each. Gently rinse and spin dry these slices. Lightly coat or spray each piece with oil on both sides. Grill the slices for 1 minute on each side, until they wilt. When cooked remove them to serving plates, 4 slices per plate, placed in a pinwheel shape.
Mound lentil salad in the center of each plate. Scatter on goat cheese cubes. Serve at room temperature.
Yield: 4 servings