Sunday, September 12, 2010

Beluga Lentils with Yellow Squash and Mushrooms

Found in our CSA box this week: Mystery squash, which were small and round and yellow and apparently a type often used in Indian cooking. This dish was not Indianish at all, but the squash were stars nonetheless.

Olive oil
1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 + 1 cloves garlic, pressed (divided)
1 spoonful of Aleppo pepper (or a bit of hot pepper, minced)
1 cup beluga lentils, picked through and rinsed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp sherry vinegar 
8 unidentified small yellow squash (could use pattypan squash or any summer squash), sliced into thick, half-inch pieces
1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, brushed clean and cut into quarters
1-2 handfuls baby arugula
1 large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Heat a glug of olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion, and saute until reddish brown, turning down the heat a bit if necessary. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to dry. Quickly add three of the garlic cloves (pressed) and the hot pepper to the pan with a bit more olive oil, stir a couple times, and add the lentils, broth, and 2 cups of water. Cover, bring to a boil, and turn down heat to simmer rapidly for 20-35 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, heat a nonstick pan over high heat, add a little olive oil, and lay the squash slices out in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Cook until browned, shaking the pan from time to time to make sure they're not sticking (if they do, you can add a little more olive oil). Turn the slices over, turn the heat down to medium, and cook until the second side is well-browned and the slices are just tender (you want them to be browned without being at all mushy. If they're browning too quickly, before they've had a chance to cook through, you can either turn the heat down a little or cover the pan for a couple minutes). Remove from pan and set in a bowl near the stove so they stay warm.

Add just a little olive oil to the same pan, adjust heat to high, and add the mushrooms. Saute until browned on all sides, turning down the heat a little if necessary and adding a little more olive oil after they've started to brown, if they look a little dry. (To get your mushrooms to actually brown, make sure not to crowd them too much in the pan -- they should only be a single layer thick -- and don't add salt until after they're done cooking). When they're nicely browned and tender but still firm, push them to the side of the pan, turn the heat down to medium low, add a little olive oil on the empty side, and saute the last pressed clove of garlic in it for a minute or so until it softens. Stir into the mushrooms. Add a bit of the parsley and the arugula, stir once, and turn off the heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir a couple more times as the arugula wilts.

When the lentils are tender, sprinkle in a couple liberal pinches of parsley and turn off the heat. Add the sherry vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in layers: lentils at the bottom, then some caramelized onions, then a layer of squash, then mushrooms, then a few more onions and a sprinkle more parsley if you'd like.

Serves 2.

1 comment:

  1. Variation on the theme: Skip the squash and focus on the mushrooms -- instead of crimini, use something swankier (e.g., royal trumpet, alba and brown clamshell). Brown just as before, but consider skipping the extra garlic. Instead, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a little parsley, as in the original recipe, and layer generously over the lentils and caramelized onion.