Words don’t always flow easily even for the most masterful of wordsmiths – I’m even losing a game of scrabble to my significant other. Still, the subtle irony present in prose regarding a lack of literary imagination is infinitely preferable to an awkward silence. Oh well, since these situations tend to remedy themselves I shan’t worry too much. Please enjoy my fibrous musings!
Lentils, of any variety, are and always will be some of my favourite types of food. Not only are they eminently inexpensive, they provide a great vehicle for flavour and make a rather pleasing substitute for meat in certain vegetarian dishes. Green lentils, unlike red lentils, are particularly effective when used in dishes erroneously entitled ‘salad’. You see, the preponderance of green lentils over red lentils in this case is down to their firm structural constitution. Similarly, red lentils are used in the preparation of mushy dishes, such as the Indian dhal, since they are lacking a determined culinary backbone.
Shallots aren’t ingredients I make use of particularly frequently; they are rather more expensive than the humble onion. However, as one may be aware, these dwarf vegetables are rather piquant and such a characteristic means that they are, in certain situations, rendered simply indispensable. For instance, onion vinaigrette doesn’t sound nearly as appealing. Luckily, the plucky punch afforded by the shallots works famously with the subtle flavour of the lentils and they combine to make a rather tempting proposition for one’s taste buds.
N.B – It seems as though my scrabble situation may have been rectified.
Green Lentil and Carrot Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette
• 100g dried green lentils
• 2-3 bay leaves
• 1 carrot, grated
• 1 shallot, minced
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
• Salt and pepper
1. Cook the lentils according to packet instructions along with a single bay leaf. While the lentils are boiling away prepare your vinaigrette by mixing the minced shallot with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. It may emulsify, it may not.
2. Once the Lentils are cooked, but retain a little of their texture, remove them from the heat, drain and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Mix the grated carrot into the lentils and serve after drizzling with the vinaigrette.
Cost: As set forth above, lentils are exceedingly inexpensive. Happily, this means that the entire dish shouldn’t be too pricey, particularly since it contains only a single shallot. Indeed, the entire salad, best served as a side or light lunch, should set one back a mere 40p.