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plate 2 plate - ottolenghi's lentils, radicchio and walnuts with manuka honey

Hi every-one and welcome to the first Plate 2 Plate post for 2015. Juliana and I both thought it was high time to make a salad so we turned to Ottolenghi's new book, Plenty More, for inspiration. As you know, I'm a bit of an Ottolenghi fan girl so I was keen to try out his new book. We mulled over a few recipes before coming across this lentil dish topped with radicchio, spicy walnuts and a tumble of herbs. The lentil image is by Juliana.

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As Juliana lives in Switzerland and I live in Sydney it can be quite difficult finding ingredients that are in season in both places. Thankfully fresh herbs and lentils are always available. Herb photo by Juliana.

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Here's my take.

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I had most of the ingredients in my cupboard and when I found that radicchio was available in my local fruit shop we both knew we had our recipe.

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I've made this dish twice so far mainly because I burnt the walnuts the first time round. The second time I made the dish, I lowered the oven temperature to 160°C and watched the walnuts like a hawk.

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Once cooled, these walnuts are so yummy I think only half made their way into the salad. Here's my version of the finished dish.



I don't tolerate cheese all that well so I left it out of the dish. Instead I served it as a side dish with some lamb. Here's Juliana's version of the dish.


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Here's another image of the finished dish from Juliana.

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The lentils and walnuts can be made well ahead of time and the dish put together in just a few minutes topped with loads of fresh herbs. Apart from the dill, all the herbs I used in the dish were grown on my window ledge.

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Here's the recipe for you from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi. As this is a UK recipe, remember to use a 15 ml tablespoon. Image by Juliana.

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Lentils, Radicchio and Walnuts with Manuka Honey
200g puy lentils
2 bay leaves
100g manuka honey
¼ tsp flaked chilli
½ tsp ground turmeric
Salt and black pepper
About 1 tsp water
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
90ml olive oil
100g walnuts
½ medium-size radicchio
60g pecorino fiore sardo, or other mature ewe's or goat's cheese
20g each roughly chopped basil, dill and parsley

Heat the oven to 170°C/325°F. Put the lentils in a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of water, add the bay leaves and simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender.

While the lentils cook, prepare the walnuts. In a bowl, combine half the honey, the chilli, turmeric and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and add enough water to create a thick paste.

Drain the lentils and return to the pan. Whisk together the vinegar, half the oil, the remaining honey, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper until the honey dissolves. Stir into the lentils while they're still hot and then leave to cool a little. Discard the bay leaves.

Add the walnuts to the honey/chilli paste and stir to coat. Spread on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring once, until crunchy and dry, but still sticky.

Pour the remaining oil into a medium frying pan and place on high heat. Cut the radicchio into eight wedges and place these in the hot oil, sprinkling them with a little salt. Cook for a minute on each side and then transfer into a large bowl.

Add the lentils, walnuts, sliced pecorino and herbs. Stir gently, taste and season accordingly. Serve warmish or at room temperature.

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As you expect from an Ottolenghi recipe, the dish zings with flavours - sweetness from the honey; bitterness from the radicchio; crunch from the walnuts; zing from the chilli and sour from the vinegar in the dressing. Just about perfect really. You can read Juliana's thoughts about the salad here.

See you all again next week with something sweet.

Jillian
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