Green Lentil Caviar

April 8, 2012

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By Thursday or Friday everything that I have prepped for the weeks meals and snacks are pretty much gone. Turning little bits of this and that gives me the mid-week creative boost that I need. Without it, my kids would be eating quesadillas and cucumber slices for dinner. That would not go over well with the man of the house.

Last Sunday, after all the prep for the week was complete, we decided to head out to the beach. The kids grabbed their football, Frisbee, a big shovel, and a few other odds and ends. I needed little; the latest issue of Bon Appetit, a beach chair, and my sunglasses. While the kids released their boundless energy, I happily sat in my chair; magazine in one hand, pomegranate soda in the other. As I earmarked numerous pages, I made mental notes of meals to come.

With lentils already prepped, I knew what I was going to do when I got home. This lentil spread was one of the first recipes I came across. One can always find bowls of Israeli salad, hummus, white bean dip, onion marmalade, and salad dressings stored in my fridge. Without them, I would be noshing on potato chips, cheese, or worse throughout the day. Having “go to”, healthy and nutritious options keeps me from snacking on the bad stuff.

Best part about this recipe; using household pantry stables! Cutting 1/2″ off the top of the bulb, omits the green stems. The neglected garlic bulbs (had about a day or two of life left in them), trimmed and roasted were the base of this spread.

Roasting garlic is easy. Wrapping the trimmed garlic bulbs in foil, sprinkled with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper creates a smell in your that stretched to street and beyond.

Although I had delegated these cooked lentils for other uses (lentil burgers and a lentil and farro pilaf), I made just enough to make what was previously planned as well as this impromptu dip. Seed crakers, matzoh sticks, jicama, and celery were great on the side as snack options. However, my favorite (I was never one for wraps, until now)  was a bit of this smeared on a sprouted grain tortilla with turkey, arugula, yellow tomatoes, cucumber, and goat cheese. Eating at home is so much more enjoyable when stuff like this lines the refrigerator shelves.

Green Lentil Caviar
French, green lentils can be a bit pricey. Brown lentils will work just as well. A good, white wine and lots of fresh lemon juice is the key, in my opinion, to this recipe.
original recipe here
yield: 3 cups

ingredients:
1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon + 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
2 tablespoons carrot, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
Celtic Sea Salt
fresh ground pepper
1 cup (8 ounces)  french green lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

instructions:
for the garlic:
• preheat oven to 375*.
• cut top 1/2″ off the head of the garlic. place on a piece of heavy duty foil and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. sprinkle with a pinch of salt and 2 grindings of pepper.
• wrap foil around garlic, like a little pouch, and place on a small baking sheet.
• roast until tender, about 50 minutes. let cool and then squeeze meat out of skins and place in a small bowl. discard the skins.

for the lentils:
• heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a small dutch oven over medium heat.
• in the work bowl of a mini food processor, pulse the carrot until finely chopped. place in a bowl.
• add the onion and the celery and pulse until rough chopped.
• add vegetables and oregano to the hot oil. cook until vegetables are soft, 6-8 minutes. season with salt and pepper.
• add lentils and stir to moisten.
• add wine and simmer until liquid is almost evaporated. add bay leaf.
• pour in broth to cover the lentils by 1″. bring to a boil. reduce heat to medium and gently simmer. if needed, add more water until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
• remove herbs and let mixture cool.
• using the same mini food processor, pulse the lentil mixture and the roasted garlic cloves. stir in the additional olive oil (I added 2 tablespoons at a time to get the consistency I wanted) and the lemon juice. you may want to add more salt and pepper.
• store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

More high fiber lentil recipes around the web:
Rattani Dal – The Novice Housewife
Roasted Root Vegetables with Lentils – Bev Cooks
Baked Bean Lentils – Seven Spoons
Wild + Brown Rice with Black Beluga Lentils – Kitchen Confidante