The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

 Curried and Peppered Lentil Salad
with Paddy Straw Mushrooms

This is a simple and flavorful dish that can be enjoyed as a side or main dish. The
warming undertones of our ingredients give us a very fall like feel, but this can be
enjoyed year long since our ingredients here are dried and or preserved.

Now of course you can achieve a beautifully flavored lentil salad with what you
 have on hand, and if you are wanting to venture out into the other ingredients I
do not think you will be disappointed :)

We have a few fun and not so common ingredients here today. So let us start with
our black garlic which is a fermented garlic lending a similar flavor to a roasted garlic.
Always a favored ingredient for me but can easily be substituted with roasted
or sautéed if not available.

Then we have my favorite of the dried mushroom variety...the
Paddy Straw Mushroom or "Volvariella volvacea". These beauties reconstitute
 like no other variety, with a glorious full and rich flavor with no rubbery feel.
They end with a beautiful  full flavored and textured mushroom.

Now our lovely curry, a blend of sugar, turmeric, lemongrass, cumin, pepper,
paprika, coriander, cardamom and salt. A beautiful medley of flavor that adds
 a bit of spice and unexpected aroma to our legumes.

On to our final two....our pepper varieties and boy do we have a couple of amazing
delights here. I am going to go out on an uncharacteristic limb and call these sensual,
and in all senses of the word. The aroma of either is unquestionably desirable and the
flavors so unique and unmatched. Lending both the Long Pepper as well as the
Tellicherry  to be widely sought after pepper varieties, and by many the most
desired peppercorns in the world.

If you are to splurge a bit here and there on unique ingredients, may I just say that
 I would highly recommend these both to grace your spice collection.
We will have more on both of these pepper varieties to come.

What you will need:
1 ounce dried paddy straw mushrooms
4 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup dried lentils
4 cups mushroom broth, hot
(from reconstituted mushrooms)
3 large cloves black garlic, chopped
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Vietnamese sweet lemon curry
1 teaspoon long pepper, ground
1 teaspoon tellicherry black pepper, ground
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
Finishing salt to taste
Leaf lettuce if desired

*Note: This recipe is based on black lentils, other types of lentils may take a
different amount of liquid and varied cooking times. Please follow directions on
individual packages for your lentil preparation.

Let's get cooking:
To start with prep your lentils as advised by package instructions, soaking
if needed. Black lentils and a few varieties take a soaking time of about
6 hours, but many do not require soaking time.

Now begin reconstituting your mushrooms in the boiling water, soaking for about
 5 minutes or so. Set mushroom broth aside keeping it hot, reheating if necessarily.

Add very hot mushroom broth to a  sauté pan and bring to a boil. Add
lentils and simmer on medium for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat,
 continuing to simmer an additional 10 minutes or so until tender.

* Note: Prepare lentils  by your package instructions using mushroom broth
 in place of water. Various types of lentils will take different amounts of water,
 soaking times and cooking times.

Once you have your prepared lentils, place in a large bowl adding olive oil,
chopped paddy straw mushrooms, garlic and seasonings, mixing well. Add
parsley and toss, place on a bed of lettuce on either a serving
platter or individual plates as desired.
Serves 4 as a side dish

Alisha ~ Magic of Spice

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