Puy Lentil Salad, with smoked mackerel and an apple and beetroot salad with a spicy grapefruit dressing
Bit of a strange lead-in photo this time around (post has been updated with new photos). I ended up – humm, chasing rainbows earlier – faffing around with this salad today. Yesterday, the Puy lentils were just great with both the smoked mackerel and apple with beetroot salad (the latter my previous post). Especially as it helped to tone down certain spices used. Have to admit I’ve always loved lentils, with these Puy being my favourite. And if anyone’s wondering exactly what they are they’re small marbled green lentils from le Puy region in France. Mine are sold quite simply as green as they’re not grown within that region. However, they are the same thing.
There are three recipes within this blog using Puy lentils already. So, why another one? Huh, this turned out to be one of the best. Usually I cook these lentils with celery, cut into small dice – a chore I dread, partly as I can’t stand the smell of raw celery. Ironically, my celery soup is one of my all-time favourites. This time I decided to sub celery with romaine lettuce as it’s on special this week. With packs of two no less. As my fridge has decided to run very cold on me this summer I can’t store certain perishables as the temperature is way too close to freezing, and that’s with the darned fridge on its lowest setting. Rather than waste all that lettuce I’ve decided to cook with it, something I haven’t done in ages. And I’m so glad I’ve done exactly that as it tastes wonderful in this simple, rustic little stew. Which I’ve never eaten at room temperature as a salad. I have Darya of Tortore to thank for the idea. And, not only that, for coupling the salad with smoked mackerel, another food item I really like. Quite honestly I would never have thought of teaming both together, normally going with home-made potato salad (with lots of chives) with the mackerel. Equally as good, I have to admit. So, where does the faffing around come in, before eyebrows raise and nostrils flare with mutterings along the lines of, get on with it, Johnny. Or words to that effect. Yesterday, although I really liked the combinations of salads and dressing on the plate I was hankering after fried potatoes, of some sort, to go with the lentils. Fine. After no-noing Rösti, Fadge, deep-fried gnocchi, courgette & potato fritters and other types of fried potatoes I ended up with wanting matchsticks. With that decided I ended up online…sighs. Shouldn’t have bothered. I went with this instead of shallow frying them. On gas I’m certain the recipe linked to would be delicious. On electric it took for ever! Shant be doing that again. And, of course, tonight I’ve just gone the route I’d wanted in the first place by shallow frying them in 2.5cm (1 in) of hot oil. And they turned out to be perfect! When I can’t take photos. Which helps to explain the lead-in from yesterday and the derisory attempt at a photo from today directly below (that no longer exists! Hehehe, the wonder that is editing). Humm…still waiting for rainbows.
Puy Lentil Salad
Serves 2 – 3
- 100g x Puy lentils, rinsed and cooked separately
- olive oil
- 1 x large onion, halved, peeled, trimmed with each half slit almost in half toward the root, turned and sliced crossways into thinnish slices
- 3 x garlic cloves, trimmed and kept whole
- 1 x small green finger chilli (Scoville rating: 50,000), washed and kept whole
- 1 x dried bay leaf, split
- ½ x organic vegetable stock cube
- 200ml x cold water
- 1 x large sprig fresh thyme
- 1 x large stem curly leaf parsley (use equivalent of flat leaf instead)
- 2 x carrots, peeled, trimmed and chopped in halves
- 2 x large leaves romaine lettuce, washed, sliced in half lengthways and halved crossways
- fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped, to serve
- both freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to serve
- lemon wedges, to serve – optional
- There’s no need to soak the lentils. Either cook them to the pack’s instructions or add them to a large saucepan with plenty of cold water to cover. Put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6) with a lid. Once boiling carefully drain into a metal colander, return to same saucepan and repeat this process another time. Third time again cover with lots of cold water, put on to boil, reduce heat this time and simmer until cooked. They should squish slightly between fingertips when cooked. When lentils are cooked partially drain them, keeping some of their cooking liquor (if cooked to my instructions the liquor shouldn’t be too strong in flavour).
- In the meantime put a heavy-based saucepan on heat No 3. When onion is prepped pour in oil to coat the base of pan. Add the onion and allow to settle. Clamp on a lid for about 15 minutes, stirring through occasionally. Remove lid and continue to cook until onions start to turn golden. Stir more often, adding a little water or more oil to keep them from drying out. Add the bay leaf and chilli.
- When onions are nicely golden add the garlic, herbs, carrots and lettuce along with the half stock cube and water. Clamp on a lid and stir occasionally as this is brought to near boiling point on heat No 4 to help dissolve the stock cube. Reduce heat to No 2, clamp on the lid and continue to cook until carrots are tender. Reheat the lentils by adding them to the mixture for several minutes before serving.
- Serve with lots of freshly snipped or chopped flat leaf parsley and wedges of lemon.
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