Friday, 30 May 2014

Glorious Technicolor!

Insalata Piccante di Lenticchie Gialle, Pomodorini & Verdure
Spicy Yellow Lentil, Tomato & Vegetable Salad


Spicy but simple, fresh, colorful and fun, this is a alternative to those same-old, same-old Summer salads- and especially to... heavens forbid- those awful and clumsy "rice salads"... we can do better than that!

I decided to use these yellow lentils, also known as "Moong Dal" in India, which is probably where they are most commonly eaten, because they a little more unusual, a lot more fast cooking and obviously, a lot prettier than many other lentils. So, if you don't already have these at home- off you go to your Indian supermarket! You are going to enjoy these... word!


There is nothing Indian about this dish- it is simply a tasty, filling, refreshing salad, given a bit of an extra "kick" by some ground chili flakes and lime juice- which makes it also into a good side dish for a steak from the grill for example... it is a very versatile Summer salad.


 To make 2 nice servings, I needed 2 cups of yellow lentils, 2 small carrots, 4-5 of the small inner stalks of celery, 10 cherry tomatoes, 1 Spring onion, 1 lime, little parsley and a good handful of cilantro.

Seasoning was simply salt, pepper, chili flakes and a good pinch of fennel seeds... simple stuff as always.


I am sure that just one look at this picture will tell you just how refreshing and delicious this salad is... at least I hope so!


Luckily for you, the prep-work for this is just as simple as it ever is for any of my dishes- simply peel and thinly slice the 2 little carrots, the small, pale, tender stalks of celery and the Spring onion and you are already, ready to rumble!


And again here I used what must be a very familiar method to cook this dish by now, pouring just enough boiling water over the lentils and then simmering them away for 4-5 minutes in a frying pan rather than a saucepan, until the water has been soaked-up during cooking, or evaporated away.

Once that has happened and the frying pan is dry once more, add the thinly sliced carrot, celery and Spring onion, season with a good pinch of chili flakes, salt, pepper and a nice sprinkle of fennel seed and add enough boiling water again to just cover the ingredients.

Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, pop on the lid and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes and in the meantime, get busy cutting those cherry tomatoes into quarters.


Once the lentils have cooked for 20 minutes in all- 10 minutes on their own and 10 minutes with the celery, carrot and onion, they can be served-up, hot, lukewarm or even chilled- the choice is yours and it all tastes good.

Spoon-out the lentil and vegetable mix first and then scatter this generously with coriander and parsley leaves, then lay out the cherry tomato quarters on top, followed by a good scattering of the intensely flavorful, tender leaves from the middle of the celery.

Drizzle with the juice of half a lemon, a good splash of olive oil and the last touch of salt and pepper to taste... and that's all!


 Not simply colorful- but simply good food!


 Grab your sunglasses, grab a fork- and enjoy!


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