[Sca-cooks] Lentils, lentils everywhere....

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Mon Jan 5 04:18:18 PST 2009

On Jan 4, 2009, at 11:53 PM, S CLEMENGER wrote:

> Hey, gang!
> At some point, a couple of months ago, I managed to come home with  
> some small bags of unusual lentils and I don't really have any  
> recipes that would do them justice.  I have one bag of itty-bitty  
> black ones, and another bag of small, reddish-orange ones.  Does  
> anyone have any recipes they'd recommend? I'm guessing from their  
> small size, that they'd cook more quickly than the standard lentils  
> I've made soup with in the past, but I'm blank past that point.   
> I've never worked with gourmet lentils before, lol!
> --Maire
> p.s.  Period recipes or modern ones...just looking to use up what  
> I've got in the house AND vary my diet a bit!

The little black ones may or may not be the French green lentils I'm  
familiar with (the ones I used to get cases of, in one-pound boxes,  
for use in the Provencale restaurant I worked in, were more green than  
black, but the black ones are nonetheless known as Vert du Puy, so go  
figure). They need about three cups of water per cup of lentils, and  
simmer for maybe 30-40 minutes.

They're good as a warm or cold salad, with olive oil, vinegar or  
lemon, and finely diced onion, celery, raw or cooked carrots (roasted  
ones are terrific), tomato, sweet pepper, lots of chopped fresh herbs,  
the usual suspects, just cut small to approximately match the lentils,  
which gives it all a refined sort of look and a great mouth feel.

Make a Middle-Eastern-type salad that's really a taboulleh variant,  
with lemon juice, olive oil, chopped fresh mint, onion, diced  
cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, etc., just using the lentils instead of  

Or, bake your lentils with tomato, garlic, thyme or oregano, a little  
olive oil, and a garlicky sausage on top.

Make a pilaf with rice or bulgur, or toss with a small pasta like  
ditalini or orzo.

Serve as a starchy side dish for lamb or, classically, a zampone (this  
is an Italian specialty bit of charcuterie, essentially sopressata  
salami mixture stuffed into a boneless pig's foot before curing, which  
is then, ideally, boiled with the lentils). These probably aren't  
going to magically appear in your lap if money is tight, but one can  
hope, no?

Be the envy of your vegetarian friends and make an ultra-chi-chi  
terrine: cook your lentils with finely-cut onion, celery, and carrot,  
a tablespoon of olive oil, a couple bay leaves and a few sprigs of  
thyme, and some salt and pepper, mash about half of them, return the  
mashed portion to the whole, mix, and place in a bowl, loaf pan or  
simple mold. Chill, unmold, and serve with French bread slices, fresh  
or toasted.
You could be really spiff and line your mold with grilled eggplant or  
zucchini slices, or grape leaves, or...

And then, of course, there's lentil soup: I'd be inclined to use  
chicken stock, diced ham or sausage, chopped vegetables, just a touch  
of tomato product, and herbs. Around here we tend to omit the tomato,  
since there are allergy issues, but it's really better with them.

As for those coral-orangey lentils, I think those are intended for dal  
and such; they always seem to turn into brown mush no matter what I  
do, but I think that's part of the Master Plan.


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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