A couple of weeks ago, I found some Black Beluga Lentils, which I had been wanting to try. (If you are not familiar with beluga lentils, they are one of the smallest in the lentil family and "glisten" when they are cooked so that they look like beluga caviar). I was searching for a recipe to use them in and found one by Tyler for Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Bruschetta with Black Lentils on the Food Network site here. Since I usually end up loving how Tyler combines flavors and textures, I thought it would be fun to try. To make it even better, the nice people at Ile de France sent me some free goat cheese to sample and review this week, (more on that below), so I was all set.
Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Bruschetta with Black Lentils
Tyler's Ultimate, Tyler Florence
(Makes 4 Servings)
1/2 loaf country bread, cut into 1-inch slices and the slices halved
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 (4-ounce) medallions goat cheese
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
2 cups black lentils (you can substitute with other varieties if you can't find black lentils)
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs thyme, divided
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium red onion
1 (1-pound) bag baby spinach
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a sheet tray lay out the slices of bread and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Turn each piece over and drizzle again so both sides have some oil on them. Toast in the hot oven for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly crispy but without color. While it is still hot, gently rub each slice on one side with a garlic clove then set aside.
Layer each slice of toast with 2 to 3 slices of goat cheese, a twisted piece of prosciutto and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Put tray of bruschetta back into the oven and heat until cheese is melted, prosciutto is crispy and bread is golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Place the lentils in a large saucepan and cover with 2 times the amount of water. Add thyme sprig and season with salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 12 to 15 minutes until they are soft and tender. They should not be falling apart. Salt, to taste, then drain any remaining liquid. Set aside.
Make the honey balsamic vinaigrette by combining the vinegar and honey while you drizzle in the 1/4 cup olive oil whisking to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
In a large saute pan heat a 2 count amount of olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic and red onion. Cook until tender and slightly translucent then add the honey balsamic vinaigrette to the onions. In a large mixing bowl add about half of the lentils, washed spinach and the caramelized onions. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To serve, lay the prosciutto and goat cheese toast on a plate and serve with warm honey-balsamic spinach salad over the top. Garnish with more lentils.
Notes/Results: Excellent! This is a delicious recipe, where all the flavors and textures come together well. The bruschetta with the goat cheese and crispy prosciutto is great and when you combine it with the warm spinach salad with the caramelized onions and lentils, it becomes even better. I didn't make a lot of changes, mainly cutting back a bit of the oil and using a whole grain bread. The recipe doesn't state what to do with the red onions, so I sliced them. (Speaking of unclear directions, the recipe also calls for 3 springs of thyme, divided, but I can only find one of them actually being used in the lentils). This is not the most photogenic recipe, and it is a bit messy to eat; even with a fork and knife, the prosciutto is a little tough to cut. You could easily make this vegetarian by omitting the prosciutto and maybe using an herbed goat cheese. A great filling but not heavy dish for lunch or dinner.
A bit about our "cheese sponsor"; Ile de France. Ile de France was the first company to bring Brie, the French "King of Cheese", to America in 1936 and they have been selling cheese here ever since. They offer Brie, Camembert, goat cheese and a goats milk brie. I opted to try the goat cheese and received a 10.5 oz log of it to sample. It has a smooth creaminess and a nice spreadable texture at room temperature. It has a lightly tangy taste and really worked well in the recipe above. I also snuck a few bites while cooking and found it very good plain, on crackers. I plan to try it in a couple more recipes. Mahalo to Ile de France for letting me sample their cheese!
To see what the other TFF participants chose this week and how they liked their recipes, go to the TFF site here, where the round up will be posted in the afternoon.
Happy Aloha Friday!