Although chickpeas are at the top of my list of legume favorites, there is something particularly homey, easy, and comforting about lentils. They cook up in no time, are effortlessly versatile in menu planning, and are wildly high in protein and iron. Ancient in origin, and with nearly as many varieties as there are rices, a bag of lentils is as essential in my cupboard as coffee beans.
Of course, legume aficionado that I am, one bag of lentils is just the tip of my rather innocuous iceberg of obsession for them. There are Umbrians and Puys, Masoors and Red Chiefs, Pardinas and Urads. The list goes on with the recent discovery of Black Belugas, so named for their remarkable resemblance to Beluga caviar, of a pitch black that fades to a luxurious, shiny sable brown when cooked. My quest for them had been several months long. Yes, I could have ordered them, but is there any domestic joy so immediate as the serendipitous reaching for a product on the shelf and securing it in your shopping cart? I've never tasted Beluga caviar and doubt that I ever will, but I am feeling no less rich for it.
Warm Buttered Beluga Lentil and Pasta Salad - My own recipe
Serves 4 as a starter; 2 as a main meal
4 cups water
1 cup dried black lentils (or other lentil that will hold its shape when cooked)
3 tablespoons butter (or olive oil, if you prefer to prepare this for a vegan diet)
4 additional cups water
1 cup dried small-shaped pasta of your choice (I used Sagnette Abruzzesi)
3 tablespoons drained capers
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped yellow or red tomatoes
1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
Additional salt, but only to taste; capers are very salty
In a large pot, bring 4 cups water to boil. Add lentils. Return to boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Maintain simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until lentils are al dente but not mushy. Immediately drain them and transfer to a large bowl. Add butter, stirring to melt and coat lentils. Reserve and cover to keep warm.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, then add immediately to lentils, stirring carefully to combine to avoid breaking lentils or pasta. Stir in capers, onion, and tomatoes. Taste for salt; season accordingly. Scatter black pepper over bowl. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave until butter liquifies. --
This is for Simona of Briciole closing out November's My Legume Love Affair 41. Simona will have her round-up online soon. Do stop back to see what luscious dishes we have created with our love of legumes. Thanks to Simona for hosting MLLA on more than one occasion.
Kiran of SUMADHURA is now welcoming your recipes as host for My Legume Love Affair 42 through December 31.