Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Playing with legumes

Tonight's dinner was an experiment. I saw some non-frozen edamame at the supermarket. On the back of the packet it suggested a salad with lentils and some other stuff. Well, I am not one to follow the packet instructions, but I am very happy to liberate ideas and make the results my own. Also, I had some sous-vide pork jowls in the freezer, some shallots, red peppers, tomatoes, various vinegars, sea salt etc. So of course the thing to do for dinner was a roasted edamame salad with red peppers, tomatoes, basil served on top of a lentil/shallot/pork jowl base. It got the "we can serve this to people" accolade from madame, so I guess it was OK. Also, I think it may have cost a whole $3 for about 6 servings. The beer with dinner was a whole lot more than the food!


4 oz cured pork jowl (can substitute pancetta or guanciale) diced very small
1 shallot, minced finely
1 lb of rinsed dry lentils
Water to cover (no I didn't measure it, sorry!)
1 red pepper, diced small
1 yellow pepper diced small
10 oz shelled edamame
2 small tomatoes diced small
8 basil leaves, chiffonade
Vinegar to taste (we used sherry vinegar)
Sea salt to taste


In a sauce pot render the pork product gently. You don't want cripsiness, but you do want the fat to render a bit. When the pork is cooked, add the shallot and mix/stir for about 30 seconds. Add the rinsed, picked-over lentils and cover with water by 1/2". That may be enough water - you can always add more later. Bring to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender. About 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. 
Once you have cooked the lentils, spoon some of the mixture into an 8x13 Pyrex or other non reactive pan. This should be to a depth of about 1/3". There will be lots of left overs. Combine the edamame, diced peppers and spread over the lentils, Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the edamame are just showing a little color and dryness. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with some sherry vinegar. I don't recommend balsamic here. Red wine or cider vinegar would be fine. Leave to cool.
Before serving, sprinkle the diced tomatoes and basil chiffonade over the edamame. Eat at room temperature. I was using salted jowls, so there was no need to add salt. However if you are using guanciale of pancetta you might need to salt to taste.

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