Fish & Seafood, French, Savory

Scallops with Le Puy Lentils

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Ever since I had this dish at the Blue Heron Restaurant, I have been looking for a recipe to recreate it.  A few months ago a friend of mine, send me a link to the restaurant’s recipe and then I realized that the recipe was published in Bon Appetit magazine!  You can find the original recipe here, but this is how I adapted the recipe for home cooking.  I omitted the mascarpone cream and reduced the amount of butter in the recipe and it still turned out delicious!

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Ingredients:

For the Cider reduction
2 cups apple cider
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped shallots

For the Lentils
6 whole cloves
1 medium onion, peeled
6 cups of water
1 1/2 cups French green lentils (lentilles du Puy; about 12 ounces)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of salt
6 slices thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

For the Scallops
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
10 sea scallops, patted dry

Method:  For the Cider Reduction

Place cider, vinegar, and shallots in a saucepan.

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Boil until reduced to 2/3 cup, about 15-25 minutes.

Strain; discard solids in strainer.

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Cider reduction can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate if you are not using immediately

Method:  For the Lentils

Press the thin end of cloves into peeled onion. Place onion in a large pot. Add 6 cups of water, lentils, and bay leaves.

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Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally about 30 minutes.

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Drain lentils, discarding onion (with the cloves) and bay leaves.  I did this in the morning and left the lentils in the strainer, till I was ready to sautee them

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Cook bacon in large pot or skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels.

 

Pour all but 1 tablespoon of fat from skillet. Add shallots to skillet and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes.

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Add reserved bacon, lentils, and thyme to shallots.  Continue to sautee and then add the cider reduction to the lentil.  Adjust for salt and pepper.  in the original recipe, the cider reduction is mixed with a lot of butter to make a finishing sauce.

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Note: I wanted to use all of the reduction and reduce the amount of butter used in the recipe.  The cider reduction is very tart and a little sweet, so instead of adding the entire reduction to lentils, add it a little at a time to see if you enjoy the flavor.  

Continue to cook until most of the cider reduction is absorbed by the lentils.

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Lentils can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over medium heat, stirring often.  There will be plenty of leftover lentils, but I wanted leftovers so followed the original recipe.

Method for the Scallops:

Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper.

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Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in a heavy-bottomed large skillet/cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat.

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Add scallops and cook until brown, about 2 minutes per side.

 

Spoon lentils onto a plate and arrange scallops on top. Serve hot and enjoy a restaurant-style meal, right at home!

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Comfort food, Dinner, Middle Eastern

Syrian Spinach and Lentils

I have to thank ABC’s Diane Sawyer for this recipe.  During her travels to the Middle East she had the opportunity to taste the local food and share it with us back in the states.  This recipe visually looks ok, sounds good , but tastes  AMAZING.  I grew up with a lot of lentil soup and generally enjoy the flavor, but this was a great combination and I will be making this often.  It is loaded in magnesium and folic acids–so it is a super yummy way to get a lot of good stuff into your diet.  Not to mention that it is hearty and filling.  So here it is.

Ingredients

1 16 oz frozen leaf spinach

1 medium-size onion, peeled

5 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 cup dried lentils, picked over, washed, and drained

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cumin seeds

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Cooking Directions

Cut the onion in half lengthwise, and then cut the halves into fine half rings.

Heat the oil in and add the onion and garlic.

Stir and saute for 2 minutes.

Now put in the lentils and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil.

Cover, lower heat and simmer about 25 minutes or until lentils are just tender.

Add the thawed and drained spinach leaves along with salt and cumin.

Stir to mix and bring to a simmer.

Cover and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes or until spinach is tender and well-mixed into the lentils. Stir gently a few times during this period.

Put in the black pepper and mix again.

This dish may easily be made ahead of time and reheated.