Puy lentil salad with hallloumi

Times they are a changin’ and it is happening right in front of us. In fact it has already happened. Our kitchen cupboards have changed. I am not talking of aesthetical changes, due to our love of home improvement but of changes from within; specifically with what they are stocked. There was a time, long ago, where you would open a British cupboard or pantry, and you would find the usual suspects – mustard, English definitely, Dijon if you were well-travelled, dried herbs of course, Worcestershire sauce, stock cubes, ketchup and brown sauce, perhaps some gravy browning or Bisto and the old classic balsamic vinegar. It wouldn’t really stretch much further than this save for the tinned tomatoes and beans. Now though, hoverboards or no hoverboards, now we are living in the future. Our cupboards, while still stocked with the aforementioned essentials, have been joined by new exotic companions. Soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, tahini, preserved lemons, pomegranate molasses, pesto and curry pastes. In the 21st century the British store cupboard is no longer a retirement home for spices and herbs, now it is a portal to the world. From here we can go anywhere we like from the comfort of our home – Asia, the Middle East, Europe and South America. Only our imagination, and perhaps culinary skill, can stop us.

This puy lentil salad relies on just such a modern store cupboard, requiring very few fresh ingredients. Sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers , capers and olives are easily found in most supermarkets if they don’t already have a place in your kitchen. Once stocked this is such an easy dish to prepare and one that is perfect for those times when you get home late and are reluctant to cook or have been unable to get to the shops. The halloumi could, if you want, be replaced with feta or even a chicken thigh or two.

Serves: 2
Cooking Time: 40minutes

200g Halloumi
160g Puy/Green lentils
500ml Light vegetable stock, use about double the amount of water per instructions
½ Red onion
50g Sun-dried tomatoes in oil
65g Roasted red peppers
50g Black Olives,
1tbsp capers
Zest of 1 Lemon plus 1Tbsp juice
Basil leaves

Place the halloumi in a bowl and cover with cold water – to draw out some of the salt – and leave to soak while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Add the lentils and stock to a pan, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils are tender. If the liquid dries out before they are cooked then just top up with some more water.

While the lentils are cooking; slice the onion, and place in a bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients. Next cut the sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers into thin strips. Pit the olives and roughly chop and add these to the bowl along with the capers, peppers and tomatoes. Finally, zest the lemon and then squeeze in about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, add 1 tablespoon of the oil from the tomatoes and about 10 basil leaves and mix everything well. Once the lentils are cooked and drained of any excess liquid, tip them into the bowl and mix.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Slice the halloumi into ½ cm pieces. Add a little oil to the pan and once hot add the halloumi and cook for 2mins on each side or until they turn golden.

Arrange the lentil salad on plates and top with the halloumi.

Printable version: puy-lentil-salad-with-halloumi

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