Green Puy Lentils, Asparagus and Watercress

Green lentils, brown lentils, red lentils, black lentils, yellow lentils, split peas, dried peas – the world of Western lentils is quite different to the world of Indian lentils. It presents a challenge to your pantry space if you commonly cook lentils from both cuisines. Two of the coloured lentils we adore and keep in our pantry each winter – the green French or Du Puy lentil, and the black Beluga lentil.

This salad is terrific, mixing hot green lentils with parmesan and asparagus with a dressing made from watercress and parsley. In many ways, this dish is about the parmesan rather than the lentils, dressing or asparagus. That yeasty, earthy umami flavour with the lentils and dressing as a base will have you coming back for more and more. The asparagus offers a delightful crunch.

It is an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty. Currently we are cooking from his book Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by.  For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Asparagus Raita

This raita is a very simple one – the spices are in the tadka rather than layering them as powders in the yoghurt. But my, it is delicious. The recipe was given to me by a Maharashtrian friend who was making it for a special event at their home.  I do love to make recipes that are given to me, as the chain of links formed by people and recipes is something special and important. In days gone, the passing of recipes from person to person was very important – no social media, few books, rare magazines. So word of mouth was the conduit, along with the Saturday paper Ladies Section and locally printed books compiled by Women’s groups.

Enjoy this raita, it is special for several reasons.

Similar recipes include: Pomegranate Raita, Carrot Pachadi, and Bhindi Raita.

Browse all of our Raitas and all of our Asparagus dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Smoky Aubergine and Asparagus

This is a recipe for the days when you light your BBQ. No joke. The deal is this: after finishing your cooking on the BBQ, turn up the heat and cook as many eggplants as you can muster, until they are blackened. Allow to cool, and remove the skin. The flesh will keep well in the refrigerator for several days. During that time make any of the dozens of eggplant dips, spreads, purees, and salads – they are all delicious.

This particular recipe roasts eggplants and pairs their beautiful flesh with steamed or grilled asparagus, and dresses them with a Chinese 5-Spice Powder dressing. It is glorious for Summer weather and warmer Autumn days. Japanese eggplants are preferred, but if you do not have those, never fear – the more common globe eggplant will work just as well.

Similar recipes include Roasted Eggplant with Black Garlic-Yoghurt Sauce, Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgar and Yoghurt, Steamed Thai Eggplants, Babaganoush, Grilled Eggplant Salad, and Marinated Eggplants for the BBQ.

Browse all of our Eggplant dishes and all of our Purees and Spreads. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Shaved Asparagus Salad

This salad is a lot of fun, and the shaved asparagus is fresh and delightful.

This salad is a lot of fun, but a bit of work to shave the stalks. It is easier if you find large stalked Asparagus, but make sure it is not stringy.

You might also like to try Smoky Aubergine and Asparagus Salad, Asparagus Soup, Cream of Asparagus Soup, Asparagus in Pastry, or Asparagus Pesto.

All of our Asparagus recipes are here. You might like to browse our Salad recipes here  too. We have a selection of Bittman Salads. Or find inspiration in our Early Summer Dishes.

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