Saturday, May 22, 2010

French Lentils with Purslane

Lentils are so versatile, whether you're cooking Indian dal or French lentil soup, these lovely legumes cook up quickly and have tons of flavor not to mention protein, amino acids and vitamin b!

I recently read somewhere (sorry, forget the specific site) of the combination of French lentils, radicchio and balsamic vinegar. I told myself that if I saw radicchio at the farmers' market I was definitely making a similar dish. No radicchio but I did come across some purslane, another "weed" or wild green, which has a tangy flavor.

Purslane has tremendous nutritional benefits, including EPA which is an Omega-3 fatty acid normally found mostly in fish, some algae and flax seeds. It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin A, vitamin C, and some vitamin B and carotenoids), as well as minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. What a powerhouse!

While purslane isn't bitter like radicchio it makes a wonderful substitute. Eaten raw, it has a toothy bite to it, similar to mache with a slightly tangy flavor, less lemony than sorrel. It paired wonderfully with some sauteed bacon, shallots and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Stir the cooked lentils into the mixture and Voila, a quick weeknight dinner full of goodness!

French Lentils with Purslane

2 cups French Lentils
3 cups broth (I used broth leftover from a great chicken soup, but any will do)
1 large bunch purslane, washed and destemmed
1 shallot, minced
2 strips bacon, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Place lentils and broth in sauce pan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cover and cook 20-25 minutes until soft but still holding their shape. Drain off extra liquid and set aside. Meanwhile, saute bacon bits until almost crisp. Add shallots and cook another minute or two until shallot is translucent and bacon is crisp. Add purslane and allow to cook until just brightening green. Add lentils and cook over low heat to combine mixture with lentils. Add balsamic vinegar and cook another minute. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.



Sophie said...

I love purslane. My father grows it in his garden.

In Dutch, In Belgium it is called Postelein!

This is one tasty dish!

Eve Fox said...

looks super good! I love purslane, too. It's also called Lamb's quarters, isn't it?

Kirsten Lindquist said...

Hi Sophie, it used to grow in my garden, uninvited!

Eve, Lamb's quarters is another uninvited green that I posted about a couple of posts back, under Farmers' greens phyllo pie.