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Sunday, June 5, 2022

Spiced Black Lentil Salad with Potatoes and Fish

Main dish salads are wonderful any time but, for me, summer is the best time to eat them.


Spiced Black Lentil Salad with Potatoes and Fish

Source: Alison Roman's book Dining In.
Serves about 6

The original recipe calls for good canned tuna which is how I usually make it. Once, though, I had some smoked trout in the freezer and used that. This salad is delicious either way. If you don't have all the ingredients you can leave some out or substitute with what you have in the fridge. I used red bell pepper instead of radishes.

 Begin with the lentils (these can be used as a side dish or in other recipes):

1 c black beluga lentils (or Le Puy or French green lentils), picked over and rinsed
1/2 c olive oil
2 teas coriander seed, crushed
1 1/2 teas fennel seed, crushed
1 teas cumin seed, crushed
1/2 teas crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 lemon
6 small scallions, cut into 2" pieces
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring water to boil in a large saucepan and add lentils and a couple teaspoons of salt. Cook until the lentils are just cooked through 20-30 minutes. Drain them and set aside on the counter.

In a smaller pot, combine the oil with the spices and the garlic over your stove's lowest heat. Cook the spices and garlic in the oil until it is fragrant and the garlic has started to brown, approximately 15 minutes. Peel the lemon skin with a peeler in strips and add them to the pot along with the scallions and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Remove it from the heat.

Place the lentils into a bowl and toss with 1/4 c of the oil, strained if you think you won't like the texture of the seeds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Take the skinned lemon and squeeze half of it through a strainer into the lentils and stir to combine everything. Serve with the remaining oil to pass. Or use these lentils in the following recipe:

For the salad:

2 boiled and peeled eggs (or more if you prefer), halved
1/4 pd fresh green beans (I used home-frozen)
1/4 pd small potatoes (purple are particularly pretty, but any boiling potato will do)
1 T lemon juice
freshly ground pepper
lentils and oil from above recipe
6-8 oz good oil-packed tuna or smoked trout, broken into chunks 
4 radishes
1/2 c dill, cilantro, tarragon, and/or parsley, tender stems and leaves (any combination)
lemon halves

Blanch the green beans for a few minutes in a pot of boiling water, cooking for 4 minutes. Scoop out of the water and drain and place in a large bowl.

In the same water cook the potatoes until tender, 10-15 minutes add water if necessary. You can also steam the potatoes if you prefer. When they are tender, remove from the water, allow to cool and cut into bite size pieces (again your preference) and place in the bowl with the beans.

Add the lentils to the bowl. Add the herb leaves and stir. Top with the fish, radishes and egg halves. Serve, passing lemon halves and any remaining spiced oil.

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