Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cukes and Zukes; The Big Roundup

Inspired by the massive enthusiasm around last week's Pesto Party, I decided to join in the multi-blog cooking party started by Margaret of A Way to Garden and Deb of Everyday Food's Dinner Tonight blog.

This week, the theme is cukes and zukes--the things we all have spilling from our CSA baskets and crisper drawers. I've posted before on some of my favorite ways to use zucchini (and will be doing more next week) but for today, here's a recipe that uses both of these over-bounteous veg to great success.

Lentil Salad

1 c. French green or beluga lentils, rinsed and checked for small stones
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 chile de arbol (optional)
1/2 c. chopped parsley
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch dice
2 medium zucchini, grated in the food processor or julienned on a mandoline
1 T chopped mint
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup cubed feta cheese
1/2 cup Kalamata olives (dry cured are my favorite)
2-3 roasted peppers (jarred are just fine) chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

Layer the grated zucchini in a colander, alternating each layer with a pinch or two of coarse salt, and then set over the sink to drain. Allow to drain for around 30 minutes while you prepare the lentils as instructed below.

Put the lentils, the bay leaf, 1-2 t salt and a few grinds of pepper (and the chile if using) into a small saucepan. Cover generously with water and bring to the boil, then allow to simmer until the lentils are tender but still firm--around 30 minutes.

When the lentils are done to your satisfaction, drain them.

Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the zucchini (you may want to use a salad spinner to remove some of the liquid, but don't make yourself crazy--you just don't want it overly wet.)

Combine the warm lentils with all the other ingrdients and toss, gently, to blend.

Then dress with the following dressing.

Spicy lime dressing

Grated zest of 2 limes
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T chopped shallot or scallion
pinch cayenne
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/4 t. dry mustard
1/3 c. olive oil
2 T. chopped cilantro

Put all in a jar and shake to combine. Toss with the lentil salad, and then add salt and pepper as necessary to taste.

This recipe is adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, a book that, indeed, everyone should own!


Margaret said...

Lentils are one of my favorite foods, so this one's a keeper. Thanks, Paige. Maybe we can swap some pickles for some lentil salad? Seems fair...

Droll said...

Okay, I am slowly getting into more cooking but for years I was a very simple cook. So my favorite recipe with zucchini is tasty and super easy. Skin and slice up a large zucchini into small pieces, salt and pepper it, and add a little bit of your favorite kind of cheese. Throw it in the oven. It's so simple and very Kraft 1950s but it's surprisingly delicious.

Glad to have found your blog and am inherently jealous of your farm adventures!

Paige said...

Thanks, Droll. Sounds delish. Simple is often the best plan, especially for super fresh veg. Hope to see you around here again!

Norah said...

I love the zucchinni with parm and olive oil. Do you get Saveur? They have a great recipe for ricotta stuffed zucchinni.