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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Puy Lentils with Witlof and Honeyed Walnuts

Would you put honeyed lentils and honeyed walnuts with witlof or radicchio and herbs? Not many of us would. But Ottolenghi will, and does, and the earthiness of the puy lentils and the bitter of the Belgian Endive (witlof) or radicchio and the salty funkiness of the cheese balances the honey beautiful.

Ottolenghi recommends Manuka honey, but not only is that expensive (even in Australia), it may be difficult to source in other countries. Use a strong flavoured honey instead. Manuka honey tastes almost medicinal, so that is the sort of flavour you are after.

This Ottolenghi dish is from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

Rich, sweet, sticky honey paired with crunchy, spicy walnuts and bitter radicchio topped with cheese – what’s not to like?

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 books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from 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. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Puy Lentils with Asparagus and Watercress, Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils, Puy Lentil Sundal, and Endives au Jus.

Browse our Puy Lentil recipes and our Witlof dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils

I enjoy living where I do, out in the boondock suburbs of my city, because it is so countrified. AND because of the bountiful and cheap produce of (nearly) all varieties here. When you live in an area with a fair percentage of migrants who love food – Indian, Nepali, S.E. Asian, Middle Eastern and various African people – then food is always going to be at the forefront of any shopping precinct.

But there are certain things that I can’t lay my hands on here. Good cheeses. Really good olive oils. Some lentils not common to those cuisines, like Puy and Beluga lentils. And definitely not Yuzu.

I have solved much of this problem with a 4 – 6 weekly trip into the Central Market, the main area of providore type shops in our city, stocking up on all sorts of things, and grabbing artisan bread, fresh cheeses, vanilla beans, horseradish root, organic vegetables and other not-to-be-seen-locally items that feel like a huge treat. But it also reminds me to be so grateful of where I live when I see tiny tomatoes selling for $9/kg inn the Market and I can get them nearby my home for $2/kg. Oh the great socio-economic divide!

So today’s recipe has its origins in one from Ottolenghi (in Plenty More), but Yuzu, a central ingredient in his recipe, is not to be found either locally or in the Central Market. So I have tinkered with it quite a bit, substituting cumquat juice and rind (as I have cumquats in my new garden — and they are readily available in the local Asian grocery), and lime juice. Use all lime if you can’t source cumquats. I also change out the greens. Ottolenghi loves to use baby spinach and rocket but I prefer to use leaves of herbs and vegetables growing in the garden, including peppery and bitter ones like nasturtium, moringa leaves, purslane and watercress.  Use soft herbs and leaves or substitute with the spinach and rocket, whatever is more convenient for you.

The salad uses beetroot simmered until tender then cut into wedges, along with raw beetroot sliced absolutely paper thin. I have to thank a new food processor for the paper thin slices – I was over the moon when I saw the result. Mandolins are also good for thin vegetable slices – I’ve been using mine for 25 years or so, and it is less washing up than a food processor!

By the way, I froze the horseradish from the market (after making Crushed New Potato with Yoghurt and Horseradish), and really can’t wait to make today’s recipe again with horseradish rather than citrus. Imagine!

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

Similar recipes include Puy Lentils with Ragout of Mushrooms, Roasted Beetroot with Maple Dressing, Beetroot Salsa with Yoghurt, and Beetroot in a Herb Dressing.

Browse our Beetroot Salads, and indeed, all of our Beetroot recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Cypriot Grain Salad

George Calombaris, well known Australian celebrity chef (how I dislike those words), is in the news for all the wrong reasons right now. But his food is very very good. This Grain Salad is delish, and I have my twitter sister, Jude, to thank for pointing me to it.

It is divine, and perfect for this changeable Spring weather. It is perfect one day, then the weather gods drag us back into mid Winter weather the next. A transitional season.

This recipe uses freekeh, but other grains can be used – couscous, quinoa, barley, burghul, for example). It is one of the best uses of freekeh and du Puy lentils that I know. The flavours in this dish are just right and balance well. It is sweet, sour, tangy, crunchy, soft, earthy, herby, and healthy.

Similar recipes include Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils, Red Rice and Quinoa Salad with Orange and Pistachios, Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Crushed du Puy Lentils with Cumin and Tahini, and Du Puy Lentils with Feta and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Freekah dishes, du Puy recipes, and all of our many Salads. Our recipes from Cyprus are here. Or browse our Early Spring collection of dishes.

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Crushed Du Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin

This sustaining meal-on-a-plate is a little bit like hummus, though much easier and quicker to prepare. Eat with warm flatbread and a salad.

It is a very very cool summer’s day, full of storms and we are all reaching for our unused jackets to keep warm. We look for something more substantial and comforting today from the kitchen.

I love the lentils of India and the Middle East, and I love the lentils of the West (although a much more limited range). Commonly, lentils soften much more quickly than most dried beans and peas, and take only 20 – 40 minutes to cook. While red lentils (masoor dal), fall apart in the cooking (so making them perfect for soups), brown and green varieties hold their shape, making them a very good base on which to layer other foods. A pan of cooked lentils – braised with carrots, onions, celery, hard herbs and vegetable stock – is a useful thing to have in the fridge, ready to for the basis for turning yesterday’s leftover dishes into a whole new meal.

You might also like to try Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils, Indian Du Puy Lentil Sundal Salad, Kosheri – Rice with Vermicelli and Lentils, and Du Puy Lentil Soup.

Browse through our Du Puy recipes, and you might like to explore all of our Ottolenghi recipes. Be inspired by our Late Summer recipes.

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Du Puy Lentils with Feta and Tomatoes

Such a bang of wonderful flavours

This is another Ottolenghi classic. Ottolenghi’s recipes have a reputation for being rather involved but I have also found that the reputation for his recipes being involved is, in the main, unjustified.

This is from my favourite of his set of books – Plenty. It is a relatively simple dish, and adapts easily to some precooking. The tomatoes can be roasted beforehand, for example. You can precook the lentils and onions too, and leave assembly to just before serving.

You might also want to try Lauki Melon with Tomato and Feta, Puy Lentils with Asparagus and Watercress, Du Puy Lentils with Witlof and Honeyed Walnuts, , Puy Lentils with Ragout of Mushrooms, Cyprian Grain Salad with Freekeh, Du Puy Lentil Soup, and Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils.

Browse more of Ottolenghi’s recipes, and all du Puy Lentil recipes are here.  Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Du Puy Lentil Sundal | French Black Lentil Sundal | Stir Fried Black Lentils with Coconut

Du Puy lentils add an international flavour to this Sundal.

This is the 7th Sundal in this season’s collection of such dishes.

This Sundal is made using a lentil not commonly known in India, the Du Puy Lentil (use any black or green French lentil). It has a great result. The flavours are darker than the usual Sundal, but the gorgeous semi-firmness, semi-mushiness of the lentil made a great dish.

You might also like to try Red Lentil (Masoor Dal) Sprouts Sundal, Sprouted Green Gram (Mung Bean Sprouts) Sundal, Coconut, White Peas and Green Mango Sundal, and Rajma (Kidney Beans) Sundal. Or you can make a sundal with Chickpeas or some Urad Lentils, equally as delicious.

You might also like to try Puy Lentils with Asparagus and Watercress, and Du Puy Lentils with Witlof and Honeyed Walnuts.

Browse all of our Sundal Recipes, and all of our Puy Lentil dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Du Puy Lentil Sundal | French Black Lentil Sundal | Stir Fried Black Lentils with Coconut”