Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lentil salad

Long time no blog! No excuses really -- just being slow and lazy. We've been eating a lot of good winter foods: beans, soups etc., despite the fact that it has only just recently gotten cold here.

One of my all-time favorite light lunches (or sides) is lentil salad. I recently found some gorgeous lentils I've never seen before that I'm enjoying playing around with: black beluga lentils. They really do look like giant pearls of caviar and they have a nice buttery flavor and bite. I make them in my favorite kitchen gadget: the rice cooker. Yes, this might seem like a completely unnecessary item but it's actually much more versatile and helpful than the name would suggest. I use it less often for rice than I do for beans, lentils, and, amazingly, oatmeal. It always cooks everything just right and you don't have to hover over the stove to make sure you're not scorching or creating mushy food. Lentils in particular come out just right every time.

I usually cook lentils for 40 minutes in chicken stock, adding salt and pepper once cooked. I remove the lentils while still warm and stir in olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste – usually a couple of tablespoons for ¾ cup uncooked lentils. The lentils soak up the liquids and the flavor permeates every pearl (or seed to be technical). I then season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon, and mix in chopped vegetables (whatever is on hand). My favorites are diced red onion, cucumber, red or orange pepper, and carrot. I usually like to add crumbled or cubed French feta and occasionally avocado (particularly if I think it will get eaten in one sitting). I finish with some finely chopped flat leaf parsley and adjust seasonings when done.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

These lentils were so buttery and yummy! I want MORE.

larryb said...

Sounds & looks delicious. The salad would be great wrapped into a burrito or filled in a pita. Thanks.

Picklejuice said...

I'd like to try this in my rice cooker. If it comes out- a whole new world will open up to me. Can you suggest the ration of lentils to water/ stock?

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