Cindy headed off to the country for work over the weekend, leaving me at home with our newly purchased Christmas present to ourselves: Yotam Ottolenghi's new cookbook Plenty More. I couldn't resist a flick through, which inevitably led directly to a more attentive reading, which progressed directly to dinner plans for Saturday night.
I started with one of the simpler dishes in the book - a lentil-y salad, typically loaded with herbs and fancy flavours, including the ludicrously expensive Manuka honey that I'd bought by mistake months ago. There are a handful of different components to put together - the lentils, the walnuts and the radicchio all get cooked separately - but nothing is very taxing and it's all simply stirred together at the end. It's the usual flavour riot - the dill and radicchio combining into something quite bitter, offset by the sweetness of the honey that's infused in the lentils and the crunchy walnuts. It's an excellent dish - even better as leftovers the day after when the flavours have had more time to soak together. Like Plenty before it, Plenty More is looking like it's going to get some serious action around here.
Lentils, radicchio & walnuts with Manuka honey
(adapted very slightly from Ottolenghi's new book Plenty More)
200g puy lentils
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
80g Manuka honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 small raddichio, roughly chopped
80g pecorino cheese
20g basil, roughly chopped
20g dill, roughly chopped
20g parsley, roughly shopped
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Put the lentils and the bay leaves in a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Get it on a low simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Drain, pick out the bay leaves and return to the saucepan.
Whisk together the red wine vinegar, half the honey, half the olive oil, a teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Stir this dressing into the warm lentils and leave it all to cool.
Mix together the rest of the honey, the chilli flakes, turmeric and a few shakes of salt with a teaspoon of water, creating a thick paste. Toss the walnuts through the paste, coating them.
Spread the walnuts out on a lined baking tray and roast for about 20 minutes, until crunchy.
Add the remaining olive oil into a frying pan on high heat. Quickly stir-fry the radicchio - you want to cook it for no more than a couple of minutes. Take it off the heat and stir it together with the lentil and walnut mixes, the pecorino and the herbs. Season with salt and pepper and serve.