Tiny green Puy lentils keep their shape and firm texture when cooked. They have a good flavour and, combined with lemon juice – and crème fraiche (or sour cream), make a delicious, slightly tangy base for poached eggs.
In Australia you can buy imported Puy lentils in specialty stores or you can now buy McKenzies French Style (Australian grown) lentils in most supermarkets.
generous 1 cup Puy lentils
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 scallions, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
rind, finely grated and juice of 1 large lemon
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 tablespoons crème fraiche (I use sour cream)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped to garnish
1. Put the lentils and bay leaf in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Stir the lentils occasionally and add more water if necessary. Drain.
2. When the lentils are almost ready poach the eggs in a saucepan of barely simmering, salted water.
3. Heat the oil and fry the scallions and garlic for 1 minute or until softened. Add the Dijon mustard, lemon rind and juice, and mix well. Stir in the tomatoes and seasoning then cook gently for 1-2 minutes until the tomatoes are heated through but still retain their shape. Add a little water if the mixture becomes too dry.
4. Stir in the lentils and crème fraiche, remove the bay leaf, and heat through for 1 minute. Top each portion with a poached egg and sprinkle with parsley.
Studies have shown that lentils may help prevent heart disease and cancer, and lower cholesterol levels.