Make the Ginger Pickled Carrots ahead of time, if possible; the flavors mellow and meld, the longer the carrots soak. Wash and scrub the carrots well, and use a wide vegetable peeler to slice them into wide ribbons. Peel and slice the ginger, and add both carrots and ginger to a glass vessel like a jar or this measuring cup.
Mix the maple syrup and salt into the apple cider vinegar, and pour the mixture over the carrots. Top off with water, if necessary, to cover the vegetables, and place it in the fridge to steep while you make the lentils.
Cook the lentils until they are tender, adding the salt at the end after they are mostly cooked so that the skins get tender before salting. (If you haven’t soaked them beforehand, you’ll have to about double the cooking time). Rinse the lentils under running water and cover to keep warm.
Make the dukkah. Toast the hazelnuts at 350° F in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the nuts to cool. Rub the papery skins from the nuts if they seem ready to come off, otherwise, leave ‘em on. Place the hazelnuts and sesame seeds in a food processor and pulse until the texture has become a coarse sand.
In a heavy skillet, toast the cumin and coriander seeds. Place them in a mortar and pestle with the peppercorns and grind them coarsely. Add the spices and salt to the hazelnut and sesame mixture in the food processor, and pulse until the mixture is evenly mixed. Be careful not to blend too far, or you will have a delicious nut butter, less suited to this particular recipe; you want a moist, coarse sandy texture.
Store the mixture in an airtight jar, like this amber Elite pint jar. It should keep well in the fridge for 6 months, but you’ll use it before then.
Make the dressing. Whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together, add the spices and whisk again. Toss the still-warm lentils with half of the dressing, and set aside.
Prepare the mint leaves, and chop the prunes into raisin-sized bites.
To serve, arrange the lettuce leaves (butter lettuce works especially well) around the edges of a plate or wide serving platter.
Spoon the lentils over the top of the lettuce, mounding it in the center.
Arrange the pickled carrot ribbons over the lentils.
Scatter the chopped prunes and mint leaves over the top of the lentils, and drizzle the remainder of the dressing over. Sprinkle the dukkah liberally over the top, and serve.
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