Saturday, April 16, 2011
Making Lentils Loveable
There are foods that have always struck me as rather bland. Lentils was one of them, always seeming like a bean of some sort that didn’t have any redeeming qualities except as possibly a small part of a complicated soup. I had no desire to cook anything with lentils.
How did I come to have lentils in my cupboard? They were on sale. And I know that if I want to be a better cook, I have to learn how to use different types of foods and make them into something edible, maybe even special. So, I stared at the bag of lentils for a few weeks before looking up a recipe, which I happened to find on the Cooking Channel website, courtesy of one of my favorite television chefs David Rocco.
The lentils con prosciutto looked simple enough but with the possibility of some nice taste because of the ham and rosemary. I was willing to give it a try, but I had to adjust the recipe because I had dried lentils instead of the canned ones recommended, and I only wanted enough food for one or two leftovers. I was also missing fresh rosemary and fresh chili peppers, so I used dried rosemary and red chili flakes instead.
Basics: Cooked 8 ounces of dried lentils (half bag) in simmering water for 20 minutes, drained. In another pan, heated olive oil and added cubed thick slice of prosciutto, diced ½ white onion, several shakes of dried rosemary and red chili flakes. Browned contents, added lentils, cooked for a few minutes until all ingredients combined nicely. Added salt and additional olive oil for flavor.
It was surprisingly tasty! My first look at the finished product wasn’t promising, but the flavors really did blend well. The thick pieces of prosciutto and slivers of onions provided a nice offset to the lentils, and the rosemary was the perfect flavoring. It was simple, quick once the lentils were cooked, and a filling meal in itself that also provided me with two more leftover meals.