It’s not a hasard if my eggplant, preserved lemon & beluga lentil salad recipe is coming right on time for the barbecue and picnic season, it’s the perfect deal to take away and it fits perfectly with any kind of other dishes. Some of you will eventually wonder if my recipe includes a dressing, but it actually doesn’t because it doesn’t need to! Sounds crazy, right? But I swear the preserved lemon makes all the trick.
In case if I haven’t screamed it loud enough yet, my romance with preserved lemon is still as intense as at its first day in my mouth. After adding it to my chicken meatballs, I started to experiment it into salads and it truely does wonders. The flavours brought by preserved lemon are enough to enhance the taste of this salad and to bring more peps into it. The most important thing is to let rest the salad for a few hours before to serve it, so that the preserved lemon can mix its wonderful notes with the other components of the recipe. Even though I have nothing to arg about lentils, which beyond being one of the most important sources of vegetal proteins are also full of folate and iron, that would be a lie to say that lentil itself is tasty. Then adding some preserved lemon to the recipe is a great way to make it more interesting for the taste buds, while enjoying all the nutritional benefits that come with!
After already two winters spent in Berlin, I’m starting to recognise what makes almost all the magic of the city. Take Berlin in winter, then give it a try in summer, and you’ll get the impression that you just found two different cities. Even though I have nothing against Berlin winter – excepting maybe the too low temperatures as well as the too persistant moody weather -, the city looks somehow anaesthetised at this time of year. Then you just need to wait for the first warm days of the year to see the city getting back to life: coffee terraces instantly get packed, Maybachufer docks are full of people having picnics, drinks or some tan, and ice-cream shops make-up with their never-ending waiting lines.
I only notice Berlin winter when it’s gone and the city awakes again. In spite of the small habits and daily hassles that still remain, nothing matters anymore when you can spend 3/4 of time outside, trying to grab as much sun as you can until you explode. Everything is an excuse to work from terraces, even though that involves to get 2 balls full of pollens instead of proper eyes, to picnic the whole day, or make last biergarten breaks all night long. Everything makes sense again and you find again one of the main reasons for which you love Berlin so much, more palpable than ever, which is the facility to be able to live the present dat without worrying about the rest.
This eggplant, preserved lemon & Beluga lentil salad is even more handy to bring to your next picnic or barbecue as it doesn’t involve any dressing, and you can easily store it for days without worrying about the fact that it turns mushy. If you want to use lentils by another way, maybe my recipes of red lentil, coconut & curry hummus or this red lentil, mint and sheep yogurt soup might give you some ideas ;)
- 200g Beluga lentils
- 1 big eggplant
- 50g Feta cheese
- 5 radishes (±70g)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 preserved lemon
- 2tbsp + tbsp olive oil
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- A small handful of pumpkin seeds
- Salt & pepper
- 1. Bring to a boil a pan of salted water (double of the beluga lentil quantity). Let simmer for about 20 minutes while stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender and the water is absorbed. Let cool aside.
- 2. Cut eggplant in 2 lengthwise, then in thin slices. Put the slices in a sieve and sprinkle with salt. Stir everything well and let disgorge the eggplant slices for about 20 minutes.
- 3. Crush the garlic cloves. Heat a non-adhesive frying-pan, then add the eggplant slices. Add a few spoons of water, cover and let cook over medium heat until the slices get tender. Take off the lid, then add olive oil and crushed garlic to the pan. Add fresh thyme, a bit of pepper, stir well and let fry over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes more. Set aside.
- 4. Cut radishes in 2 then in slices, and cut thinly preserved lemon. Stir eggplant and lentils together in a salad bowl, then radishes, preserved lemon, pumpkin seeds et crumbled feta cheese. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, season if needed and stir well.
- 5. Cover the salad bowl with a plastic film and let rest in fridge for a few hours before to serve, so that the preserved lemon flavours will develop in the salad. Serve fresh.