Tuesday, February 12, 2013

lentil salad

I've shared my love and admiration of Cook's Country and America's Test Kitchen with you before, yes?  I have really never had a bad recipe from either of these shows.  On Saturdays, when I'm able to sit down and watch them on public television, I always have my computer out and ready to take down the recipes.  See, they don't have free websites where you can go get all the information later.  You really have to be aware of what's going on and get it all jotted down.

Last Saturday, they did a lentil salad.  It looked like just the thing that I wanted for lunch.  We had some green lentils (not as nice as the lentils de puy they recommended, but also cheaper!), and a few other ingredients to toss in and make a beautiful warm or cold salad.

The whole point of the segment on the show was to recommend a different method of cooking lentils:  in the oven!  Who would have thought?  But they said the slow, steady heat of the oven was perfect for cooking them without the turbulence of boiling water that tends to split the skins.  I didn't have the patience to try the new method (I was really hungry and cooking in the oven takes about twice as long), but the salad still ended up delectable.

Lentil Salad
1/2 C green or brown lentils, or lentils de puy
2 T olive oil
1 T white wine vinegar
5-6 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 C chopped kalamata olives
1 oz chopped or crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper

Rinse and drain lentils thoroughly.  In a medium pot, place lentils and enough cool water to cover.  Bring to a gentle boil and then barely simmer (we're talking seeing a bubble or two every couple of seconds here).  You may have to replenish the water a few times.  Cook for 20-30 minutes, until you try one and it is tender and no longer crunchy.  Older lentils take longer to cook through.

Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients.  Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar in a medium bowl, along with salt and pepper to taste, to make a dressing for the salad.

When the lentils are cooked, drain them well and add to the bowl with the dressing.  Toss in the roasted garlic, olives and feta cheese.  Eat immediately as a warm salad, or refrigerate for later.  This would be a phenomenal dish to take for a picnic.  Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side.

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