Thursday, March 12, 2009

Red Lentil Crostini / Crostini di Lenticchia Rossa



I am one of those people with great intentions that sometimes comes though on those good intentions. When I saw that that is was the 2nd birthday of the "The Heart of the Matter, Eating for Life" created by Ilva of "Lucullian Delights" and Joanna of 'Joanna's Foods', and later joined by Michelle of "the Acidental Scientist", I knew I wanted to join the party. If you aren't familiar with their sites do go over and check them out. You'll find a wealth of recipes from all the round ups on cooking for a healthy heart and we all know how important that is. There are loads of creative dishes and I dare say you will discover some interesting blogs to boot. Who says eating healthy has to be boring?
One of our guests recently asked for something with pulses for our "Cooking Together" session and it didn't take me long to settle on a recipe for red lentils that I had on hand. Italians are found of the green variety and are eaten liberally during the Christmas and New Years holidays for health and good luck. Red lentils are small and cook up quickly making them a satisfying starter to your meal.
The theme for this HotM is finger food and so this recipe which comes together quickly,and lends itself to many variations or additions, is a simple pate topping with lots of flavor for a crispy crostini. The flavor is very reminiscent of hummus, but no sesame involved what so ever. We topped our crostini with some of our thin dried apple slices, for a fancy yet easy finishing touch. My photography doesn't really do them justice although they are a tasty eye appealing antipasti.
Red Lentil Crostini
Crostini di Lenticchia Rossa

200 g or (1 cup) lentils or red lentils
1-1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
½ carrot diced
1 shallot diced
½ celery stalk diced
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
6 sprigs of Thyme or 1Tb. Dried thyme
3 Tb. Olive oil and a bit more for drizzling
Fresh thyme or parsley for garnishing

Place in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil,
Add a tsp or less of salt.
Lower hear and simmer until soft enough to puree, about 20 minutes or so.
Smash with a potato smasher, kitchen wand or food processor .
Stir until you have a smooth but somewhat lumpy texture.
Add 1- 2 Tb of olive oil
Stir well.
Adjust seasonings if necessary
Cut crusts off the bread, to make toast points from soft bread disks, slices or triangles
Drizzle with a small amount of oil and bake till crispy.

Serve the pate with toast points, bread, crackers and raw veggies
Spread or mound with a scoop the lentil pate on the toasted bread.
Garnish with finely chopped parsley or a sprig of fresh thyme
Sprinkle with paprika or hot pepper if you like a bit of spice.
Arrange on a plate
Drizzle with olive oil.
Wedge a thinly sliced dried apple and fresh thyme sprig on top,
if you have some, for a finishing touch.

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