Warm Carrot, Puy Lentil and Summer Savory Salad
Portion/Yield:Serves 4 as a side dish
My attempts to grow my own fruit and vegetables and to keep an organic garden had been a success, until I had to decide whether or not to use pesticides. At times, the pests have pushed my patience to the limit and I could not bear to watch the pesky caterpillars and ants destroying my crops. My strawberries suffered and so did my Cavolo nero. Ants made their home in half of my broad beans and I was nearly in tears when a slug nibbled right through one of my courgette plants! Mr. P adamantly did not want me to spray or use any sort of pesticides on my crops, and I must admit I was tempted to after a personal struggle seeing my fruit and vegetables being destroyed, but after some disagreement (and a near divorce!), Mr. P finally won the battle and I decided not to spray.
So, I have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions with my garden, but I was so thrilled when I pulled my first carrots from the soil. Admittedly, they were all different shapes and sizes, some very misshapen and some really small, but hey, that’s alright, because they are my very own home grown carrots and they deserve a lovely recipe to be created just for them… and here it is!
Ingredients & Method
For the honey nuts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 20g pecan halves
- 15g sunflower seeds
- 15g pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons clear honey
For the carrot and Puy lentil salad
- 100g Puy lentils
- 400g small baby organic carrots or Chantenay carrots, with tops and roots intact
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 orange pepper, deseeded and cut into long strips
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon clear honey
- finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 orange
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon grated (peeled) fresh root ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds (also known as black onion seeds or kalonji seeds)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh summer savory (or you can use chopped fresh thyme or rosemary instead)
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the honey nuts, line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan until hot, then add the pecan halves and sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Toast the nuts and seeds over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes or until they start to turn golden, stirring continuously to prevent the nuts from burning. Add the honey and keep heating and stirring for a further 1–2 minutes or until the nuts are a deep golden colour. Transfer the honey nuts to the prepared baking tray, then set aside and leave to cool completely.
For the carrot and Puy lentil salad, place the Puy lentils in a small saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and bring to a gentle simmer, then cook, uncovered, for 15–20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and tender. Season with salt, then drain well, place in a bowl, set aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, wash the carrots, then remove the top green leaves but leave the long roots on as they look pretty. If the carrots are very fresh, there is no need to peel them, otherwise, you can peel them, if you prefer. Cook the carrots in a pan of boiling salted water for 8–10 minutes or until cooked and tender (cooking time will depend on their size). Drain well, then mix with the cooked Puy lentils, set aside and keep warm.
Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan until hot, then add the strips of pepper and the garlic and sauté over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes or until softened and starting to turn golden brown. Season with salt and pepper, then add the combined cooked Puy lentils and carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes or until heated through. Add the honey, orange zest and juice, soy sauce and ginger and cook for 2 minutes or so, until the liquid thickens and starts to coat the carrots.
Transfer the cooked carrot mixture to a serving dish, then fold in the nigella seeds, toasted honey nuts and summer savory and serve immediately. Serve as a side dish with roast chicken, pan-roasted duck or confit duck leg, grilled pork chops, crisp turkey escalopes or homemade chicken Goujons.