Some culinary oils are derived from grains and seeds. Beyond sesame seeds, possibilities include pungent mustard seed oil, often used in Indian cooking, and bright yellow camelina oil, which tastes similar to earthy flax or hemp seed oil. They may be used alone or combined with other oils. Cold-pressed essential oils, such as from lemons and oranges, can be used for flavoring.
Apricot kernel oil is a compelling new introduction. Typically pale yellow in color, the oil has a memorable flavor reminiscent of almonds but seemingly bolder. Tossed over warm black lentils with celeriac, apricots, and almonds, it’s an exotic yet approachable dish that may be savored alone or as a partner to grilled poultry or fish.
See other related recipes in Prepared Food Focus: Specialty Oil Infusions
Yield: 6 (5-ounce) portions
Preparation Time: About 40 minutes
Shelf Life: Best warm or in 1 day
8 ounces black lentils
2 bay leaves
4 small sprigs fresh thyme
3 ounces peeled celeriac cut in ½-inch dice
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons
2 ounces slivered almonds, lightly toasted
3 ounces dried apricots cut in 1/2-inch dice
1.5 ounces apple cider vinegar
4 ounces almond kernel oil (or cut with 25% neutral oil)
2 ounces chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Fill a medium pot with 24 ounces of water and add lentils, bay leaves, thyme, and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and simmer until the lentils are al dente, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil the celeriac in water with a little lemon juice and salt until al dente, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Saute the almonds in a small skillet until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.
- Combine 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with the apple cider vinegar and the almond kernel oil.
- Once the lentils are cooked, drain them well, discard the bay leaves and thyme stems, and transfer immediately to a large bowl. Pour on the vinaigrette, add the celeriac, almonds, and apricots and toss well. Add the parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.