– The Short of It –
1 kg of dry puy lentils
2 small brown onions, roughly diced
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
5 tbls of olive oil
few good lugs of red wine (the rest for drinking)
1 large bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
water, as you go
500gm of cherry tomatoes
Some nice white cheese, fetta, cherve or mozzarella, as you like
2 eggplant, diced
Put the diced eggplants in a bowl and toss with 1 tbls of salt. Put to the side.
Fry onion and garlic in a large pan with a wide base till fragrant in olive oil for 5 minutes on a low heat, stirring with a trusty wooden spoon.
Pour in lentils and stir, thoroughly coating in onioney oil. Fry 2 minutes, stirring as you go.
Pour in red wine (about 200ml). It will sizzle and absorb. Add 500ml of cold water. Add some salt (1tsp). Turn down heat to very low and let it simmer away for 20 minutes.
While its doing its thing, sit with a friend or some good music or both and pick the leaves leisurely from your parsley. Keep the stalks for something else. You want the whole bunch picked in a little bowl ready to go.
Rinse and strain your diced eggplant. Pat dry on a clean tea towel. Fry in a little olive oil over a medium heat till lightly golden and soft. About 4 minutes.
Stir your lentils. Add a little more water if it has all absorbed.
Cook lentils until they are soft. It may take 40 minutes all up. But they take care of themselves really. When they are ready and soft turn off heat, check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Heat a frypan to hot and sear the cherry tomatoes in a little olive oil till the skins split and they are piping hot.
Stir tomatoes, eggplant and picked parsley through and sprinkle with your white cheese of choice.
Serve in summer as a lunch or in colder weather as a lovely side dish. Or for a wonderful appetiser with some crusty bread.
Enjoy and remember the joy of simple flavors.
Serves 10 as an appetiser or 6-8 as a light meal on its own..
– The Long of It –
Lentils, lentils, lentils. There are so many kinds and so many ways to cook them. And yet, for some unfathomable reason, they seem to be view as a bland health food that you would only really eat because its good for you. Not because they are fantastic little pearls of wonder. Which they are. Just give them a little love. Sure, if you cook a lentil wrong it won’t be great, but the same with anything really.
Take the humble potato. Boil it. Boil it some more till its overcooked and filled with water. And then eat it. Without salt or butter or cheese or anything and you just couldnt imagine, in your wildest dreams, the amazing things you could do with this lumpy ground vegetable.
It is the same with so many ingredients, actually. All they need is a little love an understanding (do you see how food mirrors life) and your humble spinach or eggplant or broccoli becomes your best friend. So give lentils a go. Your eyes will be opened.
And for all you voracious lentil fans out there. .. This recipe can be added to the long list of reasons why you alread love lentils. Rich, flavorsome and fresh with herbs and oozing tomato goodness, you may wonder why you have never eaten them this way before.
Perhaps you have. What the hell do I know?
May you be haunted by the irresistable smell of frying onion and garlic… Miss Nom