You have to love how Yotam Ottolenghi thinks about vegetarian mains in Plenty. He plays with colors, textures, flavors, and even temperatures to create dishes that are innovative and even thrilling, while remaining enjoyable on a very down to earth level.
These Puy Lentil Galettes showcase Ottolenghi's playful techniques and ability to combine simple ingredients into something entirely new and exciting. It was the lovely photo of these lentil-topped galettes that drew me into this recipe, but the idea of warm puff pastry topped with cool yogurt-y lentil salad was what got me into the kitchen.
The lentil topping begins with Puy lentils, a dark green French variety that retains a bit of a bite after cooking. They're mixed with sweetly browned onions, pan roasted and ground cumin and coriander, Greek yogurt, fresh spinach leaves, and chopped mint and cilantro. Playing with cooked and raw ingredients keeps this salad hearty and light. Piled on top of crisp, just out of the oven puffed pastry, the combination is brilliant. The pastry warms the salad a bit and acts as a buttery base for the rustic lentil salad.
These galettes can work as both an elegant first course, or canapés if cut into smaller pieces, as well as a fantastic vegetarian main.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Plenty to give away this week.
- 1 cup Puy (French) lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to finish
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 1/4 cups Greek yogurt
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 3 tablespoons chopped mint
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and black pepper
- 14 ounces best-quality puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
Cook the lentils in a quart of boiling water with the bay leaves for 20 to 30 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked. Drain in a sieve and set aside.
In a small frying pan over medium heat, dry-roast the cumin and coriander seeds for 2 minutes, or until the aromas are released. Grind them using a mortar and pestle.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small pan and fry the onion gently for 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden and very soft. Add the ground spices and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Mix this with the lentils and set aside to cool down. Once cool, stir in the yogurt, spinach, herbs, lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Taste and add salt and pepper.
Roll out the puff pastry 1 1/4 inches thick and cut out four circles about 3 inches in diameter. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the over to 400°F.
Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden on top and underneath. Allow to cool slightly.
To serve, place the pastry discs in the middle of four serving plates. Pile up the lentils high on top so you can just see the edge of the pastry. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Note: You can skip the toasting and grinding of the seeds, if you prefer, and use ready-ground spices instead; just halve the quantity.