The advent of March brings with it the return of My Kitchen, My World, created by Susan and continued by Lauren with the help of Andrea. Personally, I’m glad we only have to cook twice a month now, because I like to study the target country’s food and recipes thoroughly before choosing a dish to make.
Our first journey this month is to Spain, a really beautiful country. Several years ago, I spent several weeks driving around the Iberian peninsula, enjoying the people, food, and scenery. For this particular dish, I wanted to make something more contemporary than traditional.
I happened upon a new cookbook by José Andrés called Made in Spain. The photos are gorgeous and the recipes sound so delicious. This was a difficult choice, to be sure, but I decided to prepare a nice lentil salad for lunch. I remembered most of the ingredients at the grocery, but unless I write an ingredient on my list, I usually forget to buy it. So, this ends up being my version of the recipe.
While I didn’t have any fresh tomatoes, I had just made some oven-roasted plum tomatoes, which I added to the salad. They were the perfect touch.
This is one dish I will definitely make again, even if I do use up my coveted lentils du puy.
Lentil salad with blue cheese(adapted from Made in Spain by José Andrés)
1 cup dried French green lentils
½ an onion
5 garlic cloves, outer papery skin removed
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup diced green bell pepper (which I forgot to buy)
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced & seeded plum tomatoes (I used some of my oven-roasted tomatoes)
1 shallot, diced (I used some scallions)
Place the lentils, onion, garlic, bay leaf, olive oil, salt and 4 cups of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Strain the lentils, reserving the cooking liquid and discarding the onion, garlic, and bay leaf.
Return the cooking liquid to the pan and boil for about 20 minutes, or until it is reduced to ½ cup. Set aside to cool.
Put the lentils, peppers, tomatoes, and shallot/scallion into a mixing bowl.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped chives2 ounces good-quality blue cheese
Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and reduced lentil cooking liquid* together in a separate bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad, sprinkle with the chives and mix well. Crumble the blue cheese over the mixed salad and gently mix that in as well. Divide among 4 dishes and garnish with extra cheese, if desired.
*I didn’t use all the cooking liquid, just enough to make a suitable dressing.