I made these lentils a week or so again for the first time, and I’ve repeated the recipe three times since then: once, on its own, ladled into Tupperwares for lunches, once with grilled chicken, and on another occasion, as the base of a scallop dish: it really is so utterly simple; and, strangely for me; there’s no parmesan. There is, however, lots of double cream and garlic, and of course basil. I saute one of the fat jalapeno chillies with the red onion and garlic, and I add the other one to the end of the dish, as I’m stirring through the spinach, to retain some fresh crunch and vibrant chilli flavour. Don’t be alarmed at the amount of spinach needed: when shredded, and stirred through the hot lentils and sauce, it wilts beautifully.
This may just be the most perfect thing to have with a barbecue- the weather is looking promising today!
½ cup Puy lentils
1 cup water
100g baby leaf spinach, chopped finely
For the sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
Good knob salted butter
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, microplaned
2 jalapeno chillies, both deseeded and chopped
60g sunblush tomatoes, finely chopped
3 spring onions, finely sliced
About 6-8 large basil leaves, finely chopped
½ cup double cream
1 tsp Maldon salt
Good grinding black pepper
Slightest squeeze of lemon juice
Get the lentils on to cook: in a small saucepan, place the water and lentils, and bring to a rapid boil. Turn down to a simmer, pop the lid on the pot, and cook fpor about 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils have absorbed all of the water.
While they are cooking, make the sauce. Saute the onion, garlic and one of the chopped chillis in the olive oil and butter for 8 minutes or so. Add the basil and tomatoes, and saute for a further minute or so. Add the spinach and spring onions, and stir for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cream, the other chopped chilli, salt and pepper. Keep warm, until the lentils are ready.
When the lentils are ready, and all of the water has been absorbed, tip them straight into the pan of chilli cream sauce, stir well, add the squeeze of lemon, and serve immediately.