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Lentil salad with olivada

>> Monday, April 11, 2011

Lentil salad 1

I am in a process of vindicating a more frequent consumption of legumes... before myself. I have never been very fond of this ingredient, though in the last years I have come to love some pulse dishes like falafel and Asturian beans with clams. The Asturian bean, one of man's best friends... woman's too. I still remember with tears in my eyes a few days spent with friends who own a house in Colunga, Asturias. They took us for lunch to a typical merendero, and as I always do when visiting Asturias, ordered some Asturian beans with clams. You should know that in the Principality of Asturias this kind of dishes are customarily served in huge amounts in an enourmous pot, good enough for several people, so you can eat as many servings as you want... or can. It seems that day my stomach was extensible such as a boa constrictor's, because I had all the pot by myself (of at least four servings, no kidding), while my table mates stared at me with one hand on the mobile phone to call an ambulance in case I suffered a stroke. Well, it might be the sun, the fresh air, the good company, the excellent food... a planetary alignment or something, because it has not happened again after that. But back to the topic at hand, we know that vegetable salad recipes get mixed results. That is why I consider this recipe found at the French magazine Elle à Table a great success, also because I have discovered a new addiction: salt preserved lemons.

Yes, I had kept some Moroccan style homemade preserved lemons in store for almost a year, still had not found time to open the jar and this was the right time. I had never tried these lemons before, but when I opened the jar I could not believe it... The aroma was amazing! All the essence of the lemons in a highly concentrated form. Unbelievable. Exciting. I was speechless. The flavor is so concentrated that a tiny bit of lemon adds lots of sparkle to the dishes.

Besides, these lentils are coupled with some beautiful phyllo cones stuffed with olivada...

Lentil salad with olivada (adapted from Elle à Table)
Yields 4 servings

For the olivada:

  • 250g black olives, unpitted (you better pit them at home, they will have more flavor)
  • 2 tsp pickled capers
  • 2 anchovy fillets (I had none and I used the same amount of nori flakes)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 50g virgin olive oil
  1. Peel the garlic, then pit the olives, if needed, mix everything and process to the desired fineness.
  2. With the food processor on lower speed, add the oil in a steady stream. Set aside.
For the lentils:
  • 120g lentils (French lentils like Puy are best)
  • Some fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp strong mustard
  • 1 quarter preserved lemon peel*
  • Salt to taste
Salt curing lemons

*Lemons preserved in salt are a very typical ingredient of the Moroccan cuisine which can be found in specialty stores, but that are also very easy to make at home. There are tons of recipes in the net, for example this one. You only have to take into account that the lemons need to cure or mature for a minimum period of 2 weeks.
  1. Leave the lentils to soak in water overnight. The next day, change the water and cook them with the bay leaf, until tender.
  2. Drain and salt to taste. Then add the mustard, the ground cumin and toss to distribute evenly.
  3. Dice the lemon peel (and only the peel) and add too. Then cut the cilantro and sprinkle on top of the salad.
  4. Set aside.
Lentil salad 3

For the phyllo cones:
  • 2 or 3 phyllo sheets
Olivada in phyllo 4
  1. Cut the sheets in 10cm squares or to your liking.
  2. Place a teaspoon of the olivada and wrap it in the phyllo dough, shaping it into a cone. Place the finished cones on an oiled oven dish.
  3. Bake in the oven preheated to 180ºC for 10 minutes or until brown.
Serve the salad side by side with the olivada cones and take alternate bites: lentils, cone, lentils, cone... Amazing. I believe I am in love with cumin, do you think it can be serious?

Lentil salad 2

14 comentarios:

Mari April 11, 2011 at 2:56 PM  

Miriam, I am very enthusiastic in tasting this salad. I am sure it is very healthy, I just hope I can get the lentils to look like that without over cooking them. Thanks for the recipe :)

bellini April 11, 2011 at 4:15 PM  

What a healthy way to begin a new season Miriam.

Jennifurla April 11, 2011 at 4:46 PM  

I just love this whole meal, wonderful dinner indeed.

lisa is cooking April 11, 2011 at 10:20 PM  

The preserved lemon sounds bright and lovely with the lentils, and I want to grab one of those phyllo cones!

Maria April 12, 2011 at 10:38 AM  

I adore lentils, this salad sounds just perfect!

Janet April 12, 2011 at 1:16 PM  

Wonderful flavor contrasts! I cook sliced and chopped fresh lemon with lentils--same subtle citrus background flavor.

Junglefrog April 12, 2011 at 10:55 PM  

I so have to try and make cured lemons myself. I keep reading about it and then thinking I should try it but sofar I've not cured anything... Your lentil dish looks very vibrant too!

Frank April 14, 2011 at 4:25 AM  

Now this I'll have to try. I love lentils—all legumes, actually—but I would never have thought to combine them with those flavors. Intriguing...!

Nisrine Merzouki April 15, 2011 at 3:02 AM  

I can't wait to make olivada/tapenade. I've been craving olives lately (have used them twice this week already!)

tasteofbeirut April 15, 2011 at 5:17 AM  


This is a wonderful meal! Love the cones, the tapénade and the lentils; I eat lentils all day long and never thought of combining them with olives, great idea!

Lauren April 18, 2011 at 10:39 PM  

Delicious! Delicious! I must make this salad!

Claudie April 19, 2011 at 2:14 PM  

I've been looking for ways to incorporate more lentils into my diet, so your recipe comes in handy! And this olivada with phyllo dough... This just looks fabulous -- you've managed to bake it to perfection!

Spicie Foodie April 22, 2011 at 6:06 PM  

I've always love all sorts of legumes, perhaps because I'm Mexican, hehe. Miriam this is the perfect dish to me. I can picture eating it on a sunny day just as you enjoyed the Asturian beans with clams. Perfection!

Miriam April 26, 2011 at 7:55 PM  

Mari: it's a matter of watching them a little bit...
Val: too healthy. I need some sugar. Now.
Jenni: I loved it too!
Lisa: preserved lemon... I need some!
Maria: yes, it's your type of dish ;)
Janet: this kind of lemon is sooo scented you can't believe it.
Simone: it's easy peasy and they keep perfectly well for ages.
Frank: I never thought before either!
Nisrine: mmmmm!
ToB: ;)
Lauren: :D
Claudie: me too! That's why I made it...
Nancy: ;))


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