Posts Tagged ‘Lentil’

A Summer Picnic – Curried Lentil Salad with Currants

Dustin and I had the wonderful pleasure of joining a friend of ours on her birthday celebration at a local vineyard this past Saturday. We were fortunate to be invited to take a tour of the wine storage and bottling facilities and I was extremely impressed by the caliber of this small vineyard located in the middle of Tennessee. As part of her birthday celebration our friend, Tarjani, planned a pot luck style picnic. As soon as I heard about the picnic I immediately set about musing as to what to bring. One of my favorite all time recipes came to mind quickly.

This recipe comes from a blog I often read called “My New Roots” which focuses on healthy and nutritional recipes. This lentil salad has fantastic earthy flavors. The curry powder adds spice and intrigue to the creamy lentils while the capers and currents play off of each other to add both salty and sweet flavors to the dish. The salad is then tossed in an interesting dressing composed of mustard, cider vinegar, and maple syrup. It was a big hit at the picnic and really an easy recipe to toss together.

I use Du Puy Lentils in this recipe as they tend to hold together well after cooking and don’t get mushy like other lentil varieties. I have added celery to the initial dish as I think it adds a nice fresh crunch and some bright herbaceous flavoring to the dish – feel free to use the inner stalks and light yellow and green celery leaves for this dish as well! The celery should be diced to match the size of your onions. I have also added red bell peppers to this recipe before with great success, but they are a bit of a pain to dice so I omitted them this time.

In terms of Curry Powder, I use a basic curry powder blend that I purchased from Penzy’s spices. I highly recommend sourcing a nice fragrant curry powder like this one for the dish. Many Indian and Super Market varieties are harsh and bitter but the Penzy’s curry is amazingly mild and balanced.

The success of this dish really rests on how cooked the lentils become. If they are undercooked they will taste raw and crunchy. Overcooking the small pulse will bring down the flavors of the dish and diminish the lentils integrity. Even du puy lentils, when overcooked, turn to mush. Feel free to make your mark on this dish by adding ingredients you love. Nuts would be a great addition, as well as crumbled feta or chevre. The salad makes a great side dish for salmon or steak and is also phenomenal served over arugula.

Curried Lentil Salad with Currants

Adapted from My New Roots
2 ΒΌ Cups (1 lb.) Du Puy lentils
1 Medium Red Onion Diced
1/2 Cup Dried Currants
1/3 Cup Capers

1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 TBSP Maple Syrup
1 TBSP Grainy Dijon Mustard
2 TSP Kosher Salt
2 TSP Freshly Ground Pepper
1 TBSP Curry Powder

Rinse lentils and place them in a medium sauce pan. Cover with 3 inches of water and ring pot to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 12-17 mins or until lentils are JUST tender.When finished drain lentils and run them under cold water to cool. Drain and dry well.

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, syrup, S&P, and curry.

In a large bowl mix together lentils, onions, currants and capers. Lightly dress with vinaigrette and mix gently.

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve and enjoy!

Why I Love Home Goods – Israeli Couscous Salad with Sardines and Tomatoes

I love Home Goods. I really love Home Goods. If you don’t have a Home Goods (which is related to Marshalls and TJ Maxx and sells, well, home goods, at a mere fraction of other store’s prices) near you, I’m sorry, you’re missing out. The one near us is simply phenomenal (the selection from store to store tends to vary quite a bit, I have been in others that aren’t quite as good). I love to go in on days when its not too busy and make a B Line towards the gourmet foods section some days the finds are better than others at times the selection may be quite slim but I still always find some cool new spice or or salt or jam to take home and add to the arsenal I keep in the pantry for which I use when I need some inspiration to a dish (or in times of desperation when I get back from a business trip to find that there is no fresh produce in the house and raid the pantry in hopes of scrounging up something meal-worthy.)

On this particular trip the selection was amazing, I got some great nut oils (walnut and hazelnut) and can of stir fry oil which is flavored with ginger and garlic, I also came across some high quality hot smoked Spanish Paprika, which I love to add to sauteed greens for breakfast. Nestled in among some salts on the bottom shelf were some small tins of cured fish. I selected some smoked mackerel and a container of smoked trout, a tin of herring, and a small can of Portuguese sardines in Peri Peri sauce which I put to use in today’s featured recipe which is a take on a great recipe for Pearled Cous Cous with Roasted Tomatoes which I found on Smitten Kitchen last summer and immediately fell in love with.

While we are speaking of favorite things, I have used a particular favorite ingredient in this recipe that I want to talk a little more about. Garlic. Specifically Raw Garlic that I buy FROZEN from Trader Joes. It comes in a little flat that looks like a miniature ice cube tray and holds small squares of frozen minced garlic which are each equivalent to approximately one large clove. I am a garlic junkie so I used two in this recipe which I put in a large mixing bowl with the oil and allow to simultaneously thaw and infuse the olive oil with its garlicy goodness while I prepare the remaining ingredients for the dish.

While we are on the topic of specific ingredients lets talk about sardines. Before you wrinkle your nose let me tell you I was a bit apprehensive about what to do with them once I opened the can and peered inside at chunks of silvery fish which included both skin and spine. I am assured that you can eat both but I slit them in half and removed the spine before slivering the flesh into the salad. I might recommend to other first timers that you follow a similar path. To other more experienced sardine eaters, please, by all means, eat the fish spine and all, I am told there is good calcium in doing it this way but I will stick to my gut for now and keep taking the spines out (I have to say the spine removal process is a very simple procedure – hardly a taxing surgery by normal cooking standards.) If you’re really not sure about the fish, leave them out, I wont stop you, but you’ll be missing out on the hint of salty ocean flavor they bring to this Mediterranean summer dish. The salad makes a great side dish for a summer feast, it would go well with a simple meal of grilled meats or vegetable kabobs and is perfect for a summer picnic.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Sardines and Tomatoes

3/4 Cup Puy Lentils
1 Bay Leaf
2 Cups Israeli Couscous
2.5 Cups Chicken Broth
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
1 Quart Grape Tomatoes Cut in Half Lengthwise
1/2 Cup Olives Chopped
1/4 Cup Basil Cut into a Chiffonade
2-3 TBSP Lemon Juice
1 Tin of Sardines in Peri Peri Sauce, Spine Removed and Flesh Flaked.
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

Bring a medium pan of water to a boil, add lentils and bay leaf and reduce to a simmer, simmer until just tender, approximately 20 minutes. When just tender remove pot from heat, drain lentils and run under cold water until cooled.

While Lentils are cooking bring chicken broth to a boil in a separate pot, once boiling add couscous and simmer uncovered for approximately 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for 20 minutes until cooled.

Place garlic in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil while you halve the tomatoes and chop the olives and basil. Place the tomatoes, olives, and basil in the bowl with the garlic and olive oil and mix. Add couscous, lentils, and lemon juice and stir. Add flaked sardine meat and taste for seasoning.

Add salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.

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