Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Warm Salad

What do you think the difference is between a stew and a warm salad?  The amount of liquid?  The amount of mooshiness?  I'm not sure, but I did feel like this was more of a salad than a stew.  Deceptively simple, as original author Janet of taste space notes, the combination of tastes and textures is really good, especially if you can get decent tomatoes and basil--I don't think I mention enough how much I love living in southern California (though unfortunately the tomatoes here did come from Mexico...but then again, many places in Mexico are closer to LA than many places in CA, so it's hard to evaluate how local this is).

I didn't change too much: I used regular brown lentils instead of Puuy, which meant that they took longer to cook and I had to watch to make sure they didn't get too mushy--I wanted a salad, not a dal.  I also used balsamic vinegar rather than sherry vinegar, as I do in this other favorite lentil salad.  I also had to use regular paprika rather than smoked.  Regular paprika is kind of useless; I'm not sure it added anything to the dish.  Finally, I think that this, too, is the kind of recipe where you don't have to measure that carefully.  The divided olive oil and vinegar look complicated, but really, just use a sploosh of each, each time you need it.

Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Warm Salad

1-2 green onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 TB + 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 c lentils, rinsed
water for lentils (according to directions--I think some kinds of lentils require more water than others)
1/2 tsp paprika (smoked if available)
1/2 TB + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, divided
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered lengthwise
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
6 big leaves of basil, chiffonade
black pepper, to taste

1. In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat 1 tsp of the oil. When hot, saute the onions with a pinch of salt for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to saute for 1 minute, until the onions and garlic are softened. Add the lentils with 4 cups of water (or however much you need) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender but not falling apart (20+ minutes). When they are done, if there is a lot of water left over, drain it and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a very hot saute pan, fry the mushrooms with 1 TB of the olive oil, turning occasionally. Try to get them to brown well on most sides. Season with salt.
3. When the lentils are cooked, add the paprika, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/2 TB of vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. Toss the cherry tomatoes and basil with 1 tsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of vinegar, and a pinch of salt.
5. To serve, divide the lentils into bowls. Top with the mushrooms, and top that with the tomato salad. Give the whole thing a grind of black pepper and another little dusting of smoked paprika, if desired.  Serves 3-4.


janet @ the taste space said...

Glad to hear you liked it!

Julia said...

Yum! This sounds so good and simple, I will for sure try this!