I love a good twist.
Making Romeo and Juliet into West Side Story – brilliant!
Combining a blanket and a bathrobe into a Snuggie – inspired!
And turning familiar food into something totally new, interesting, and delicious – well that is right up my alley.
Whether it’s deli approved egg rolls or a beef-less fully decked cheeseburger, I am all about the flavors I love in a new and interesting way. That’s where this side dish came from. I took flavors that I love – lentils in a bright vinaigrette – and it turned into a hearty, soothing side dish.
Warm Lentil Puree with Shallot Vinaigrette
1 cup lentils (only use red or yellow lentils – these are the ones that break down. Green or Puy lentils are delicious, but don’t break down and become creamy.)
1 dried bay leaf
2.5 cups veggie or chicken stock
1/2 shallot, finely diced
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Put the lentils, bay leaf, and stock in a heavy bottomed pot and simmer (not boil) gently for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft and start to break down.
Be sure to stir the lentils occasionally or they will stick to the bottom of the pot (if they do, they come off easily when scrubbed so don’t worry.)
2. Take them off the heat, discard the bay leaf, and add the olive oil, shallots, lemon zest, and seasonings.
3. Stir and serve
This couldn’t be easier, cheaper, or more delicious. Just one cup makes 2 very large side dish portions. It cooks, prep time included, in half an hour. And the taste is hearty, earthy, and incredibly fresh. The lemon zest lifts it brightens it without being too sour. The flavors here are what you might see in a lentil salad, but because it’s warm those flavors are intensified. The shallots and lemon release their aromas with the heat of the lentils and the olive oil is thick and rich, smoothing out the shallot’s rough edges. Don’t forget plenty of salt, because lentils really need it. With a filet of salmon or some chicken meatballs, this is a filing and unexpected meal from totally expected flavors.
A twist on an old favorite brings a whole new dimension to your dinner.
Like I said…the West Side Story of foods.