Garlicky Lentil Salad (Salata Adas)
My apartment, my cutting board, my skin….they all smell of garlic. Twelve cloves of minced garlic, to be exact. Now if you do not like garlic, then needless to say you might want to stop reading now. (I feel the need to now make a joke about vampires but will refrain.) For those of us who do love garlic, well please continue because I think this dish will not disappoint you. You too can have garlic oozing out your pores with just a few bites of this lentil salad.
I found this recipe in my favorite magazine, Saveur, which notes that this dish comes from Lebanon. I was attracted to it because of the garlic, but also I love the texture of lentils before they reach that smushy stage. The freshness of the lentils while swimming in a bath of olive oil and garlic with fresh lemon sounded too good to pass. Mix in some mint and parsley, it gets even better. And cumin with allspice? Now that’s interesting yet so clever.
It goes without saying that this salad is quite potent with garlic. Therefore, be mindful of that when pairing it up with other dishes. Saveur suggests that you serve it with lamb or grilled sausages, which I agree with. I think this could also be good as a garnish for a nice, white fish like tilapia. And if you are like me, you can even just have it as a meal in itself (assuming you are not seeing anyone for 24 hours).
So here is the recipe adapted from Saveur magazine (and originally created by Carolyn Forché). This serves 2-4 people.
- 1 cup green lentils, rinsed
- 8 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (anything that squeezes out of a plastic lemon is not fresh)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp minced fresh mint
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a 2 quart pot, bring 3 cups of water and the lentils to a boil. Then turn the heat down and let simmer for about 30-35 minutes. Lentils are done when they are soft yet still maintain a firm body. Drain and set aside.
- In a 8 inch skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of the olive oil and let heat up. Add the garlic and saute mixing frequently until the garlic is cooked (it will look translucent, about 7-8 minutes).
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, cumin and allspice. Mix well.
- Pour the mixture over the lentils and mix.
- Before serving, toss in the parsley and mint, and season with salt (generously) and pepper, to taste. Serve at room temperature.