A Salad for Maine
Recipe and Photos by Ally Milligan of Loveleaf Co.
Growing up, my sisters and I never went to sleep away camp. We went to Maine. My grandparents lived there for the summer and we had our own campy routine. First things first: blueberry muffins with Granddad. Then: a couple chapters of our books and a rocky morning hike in Acadia. Always home for lunch. Turkey sandwiches, Cape Cod chips. Lots of chips.
Afternoons were for fort-building by the icy cold Mt. Desert Narrows. “Intruders!” we would shout to the kayak groups passing by, quickly retreating into our hut made of rocks and driftwood. More reading to the smell of Grandma’s dinner on the stove. Our parents: wine on the porch as the sun disappeared, the cool air settling in for the night. Early to bed, early to rise.
Older now, my sisters and I still come to Maine, our childhoods rushing back to us as crisp and cool as the smell of pine. Our grandparents have passed away, but we carry on our traditions. Now it’s us cooking the dinner, our hands holding the wine. The table is set late and the food is fresh. Mussels from the dock and Beech Hill produce from the stand. A lentil salad, one that gets better overnight. Blueberry pie.
And leftovers. Leftovers are the next day’s hiking fuel. The picnic is the reward at the top, but the view is competitive. As we hike back down, dinner’s already on our minds. A Beech Hill farmstand stop on the way home, the routine on repeat. Forever, I hope.
Lentil and Potato Salad
with Red Peppers and Smoky Paprika Dressing
3/4 cup dried French green lentils (aka lentils du Puy)
1/2 lb fingerling potatoes
2 roasted red bell peppers (jarred), drained and chopped
1/4 cup capers, drained
1/2 small red onion, chopped
3 oz baby kale (more if desired)
2/3 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
3 scallions, thinly sliced
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
salt to taste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika,
plus more to garnish
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Make the dressing: Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Cook the lentils: Thoroughly rinse the lentils under running water. Combine the lentils and 3/4 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered. Lentils are cooked as soon as they are tender and no longer crunchy. Strain the lentils and return to the pan. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Cook the potatoes: Place potatoes in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover by about 3 inches. Stir in 1 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Once cool, slice the potatoes into coins.
Assemble the salad: Mix together the cooked lentils, sliced potatoes, chopped roasted red peppers, drained capers, chopped onion and baby kale. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Before serving, add the sunflower seeds, scallions, and goat cheese, reserving some for garnish if desired. Add additional salt to taste.