Chef WayJerry Traunfeld uses French-style lentils grown in eastern Washington and Idaho. Sometimes he likes to use Moroccan mint, which is like spearmint but a little bit more spicy and savory.
Easy Way Use any good French green lentils and regular mint for this hearty main-course salad.
More Substantial Salads
1 large eggplant (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup French green lentils (about 7 ounces)
2 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Warm naan and plain yogurt, for serving
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 450°. Prick the eggplant all over, set it in a small baking dish and roast for about 40 minutes, turning once or twice, until very tender. Let cool.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and crushed red pepper and stir over high heat just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Stir in the lentils and water. Season lightly with salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are tender but not mushy and the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Transfer the lentils to a serving bowl.
Scoop the flesh from the eggplant and chop it. Drain the eggplant in a fine sieve to remove any excess liquid. Add the eggplant to the lentils along with the lemon juice, mint, parsley and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with naan and yogurt.
The eggplant-lentil salad can be refrigerated overnight.
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