Saturday, 9 June 2012

Bowl Me Over- A Steamed Salad!

Insalata di Lenticchie Rosse & Erba Cipollina al Vapore in Cavolo Rapa
Red Lentil & Chive Salad, Steamed in Kohlrabi

Please don't ask what was going on when I went to the market hall today. Somehow I was distracted or just indecisive... but I ended up coming home with a whole cornucopia of goodies and not having the faintest idea HOW I was going to make use of them together!

Now, on the good side, that kind of challenge just makes me click into gear and come up with something on the spur of the moment... and more often than not I manage to do pretty well! This time was no exception... my crazy experiment of steaming some red lentils in a hollowed-out kohlrabi worked really exceptionally! let me tell you how I did it... it was SO easy!

I say it was easy, but there was the matter of hollowing the kohlrabi out first... tricky- but not that difficult if you have one of those "melon-scooper" gadgets. Peel the kohlrabi and cut off a slice from the top and bottom, so that it stands securely, like a small bowl. Now, using a small, sharp knife, carefully cut a nice, neat circle into the kohlrabi. Once the circle is cut, make additional cuts into the centre of the kohlrabi in a grid-pattern, in the same way you cut an avocado before turning it inside out or scooping out the chunks. And that is exactly what you need to do now, using the melon scooper. Just take your time and you will see it is actually pretty easy.

Next, finely chop some chives, grate a little ginger, garlic and orange zest, finely chop some chives and stir them into your red lentils. Season with salt, pepper, a tiny hint of cinnamon and nutmeg and a little cayenne pepper and fill the kohlrabi up to about 2/3rds. Now, pour in boiling water till it is full, stir and place the kohlrabi into your steamer for 15 minutes. Go set the table or fix yourself a drink... you have done all your work! It is as simple as that!

After 15 minutes, the lentils should have fluffed up, filling the kohlrabi, but still have a good "bite" to them... there is nothing sadder than over-cooked red lentils! And the kohlrabi should be firm but juicy- and nice and sweet in contrast to the "nutty" flavor of the lentils.

Drizzle with a little sesame oil, a little lemon juice, a little honey and a generous amount of balsamic reduction and serve lukewarm or chilled, but whatever you do, enjoy!

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