Thursday, May 3, 2012

du Puy lentils earn their
reputation in delicious dish

Quite a while ago, I bought a bag of du Puy lentils. They sat in my pantry until I saw a recipe in which to use them.
   I had seen a couple of difficult recipes that called for du Puy lentils, which is why I bought them, but I was waiting for a recipe that looked easier before I actually tried them.
   That came along with the recipe for Garlic Prawns with Asian Puy Lentils (click for the recipe) from BBC Good Food magazine.
   It seems that du Puy lentils are produced in the Le Puy en Valey region of France. The volcanic soil of the area gives the lentils their dark green color.
   The lentils are prized by some chefs, including David Lebovitz, for their rich taste and ability to not get mushy as quickly as other varieties of lentils.
   The du Puy lentils certainly tasted delicious in this dish, with their earthy, deep taste that took very well to an “Asian” dressing of soy sauce, honey and rice-wine vinegar.
   The lentils were topped with delicious tiger prawns (or tiger shrimp) that had been marinated in jalapeno pepper, lime juice, garlic and oil prior to cooking.
   The lentils and shrimp make for a healthy combination of fibre, iron and other nutrients.
   The recipe says to boil the du Puy lentils, then simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender. I followed the package directions instead, not bringing to the water to a boil first, but rather a simmer, where it is left for 30 minutes.
   I’m sure other varieties of dried lentils can easily be substituted for the du Puy in this recipe. Canned lentils could also be used – just skip the step of cooking them!
   The recipe also calls for “two red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped.” Instead, we used a green jalapeno pepper, and just one in the recipe, as we are weaklings when it comes to spicy food.
   Tiger prawns or tiger shrimp are marinated for 20 minutes in a dressing of jalapeno pepper, lime zest (finely-grated lime peel), lime juice, crushed garlic and oil.
   While the prawns marinate, the lentils are cooked (or started before the tiger prawns marinate!)
   The lentils are drained and tossed in a dressing of jalapeno pepper, soy sauce, honey, rice-wine vinegar and toasted sesame seeds. We skipped using coriander (cilantro) in the lentils as we both hate the stuff.
   The prawns are taken out of the marinade and fried briefly. The marinade is added and brought to a boil (this will take just seconds).
   To serve, spoon lentils on to a plate and top with prawns.

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