Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Balsamic Beauties

Lenticchie Rosse & Giallo in Agro & Cicoria
Balsamic Red & Yellow Lentils & Chicory


More simple, rustic, rough and ready but delicious food for supper this evening... I feel blessed to appreciate this simple stuff and proud to prepare it for myself rather than so many other things that I could be eating. Not for me the fancy food, nor the convenience or fast food... Just give me some fresh greens and a couple of handfuls of lentils and you will see a happy man.

This chicory that you can see here, is actually the outer leaves of the Puntarelle that I ate as a salad last night. Larger and more bitter, these would not have been so pleasant as a salad, but cooked and finished with olive oil, they made a great side serving to lentils this evening. Waste not...want not! That's what it's all about for me... Just as it always was and always should be!


This was quick and very simple to prepare, was flavorful and satisfying and healthy to boot! All good reasons to sometimes just stop for a second and rethink some of our food choices... Because a lot of the time, we are missing out on some really great stuff!


A small and indeed modest meal, requires of course only a small and modest ingredient list. To prepare my generous single serving, I needed 1 good handful of Puntarelle greens, wild chicory or you could also use dandelion greens. Then 1 shallot, 1 cupful each of red and yellow lentils, salt, pepper, marjoram, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.


And again... Don't hate me for preferring this to something more sophisticated and refined! That's just the way I am I suppose!


The chicory simply needs to be washed and then popped into a saucepan, nice and wet with the residual water from washing. Sprinkle with salt and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, pop on the lid and let it simmer and cook down in its own juices for the next 10- 15 minutes.


To prepare the lentils, begin by finely chopping the shallot and frying it in olive oil until it becomes translucent, add the lentils and stir in so that they also become nicely coated with oil.


Add a good sprinkle of dried marjoram and season with salt and pepper, then top up with boiling water until the lentils are covered and continue cooking on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes.


After 15 minutes in a gentle simmer, there should only be a small amount of water left over... Time to turn up the heat and to get things finished and ready to serve... Time to add the important finishing touches!


Add a good splash of balsamic vinegar (3-4 tablespoons), another good pinch of dried marjoram and a drizzle of olive oil and get serving!


And of course, after a good 20 minutes of cooking. That chicory is going to be really tender as well as a little milder. All it needs is a nice drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt before setting it on top of those lovely, tangy lentils.


The combination is perfect! Tangy, bitter and mild... The flavor of this Autumn season and a taste not only of this past... But also of things to come!

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