This will not be the first, or the last, time I have used the following technique to make a dressing or a sauce. Gently heating aromatics in some oil teases out the flavours and infuses these through the oil. And don’t be afraid of lentils – they are tender, tasty and good for you.
55 g (2 oz/ cup) puy lentils or tiny blue-green lentils
1 sugar or butternut pumpkin (squash), about 2 kg (4 lb 8 oz)
1 tablespoon rice bran oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 cup small mint leaves
1 cup flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
60 ml (2 fl oz/ cup) light olive oil
1 large red chilli, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
60 ml (2 fl oz/ cup) white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
teaspoon sea salt
1 To make the dressing, put the olive oil, chilli and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the chilli and garlic start to sizzle, cook for just 1-2 minutes longer, then remove from the heat. Stir in the vinegar, sugar and salt and mix until dissolved. Pour into a jar or bowl and set aside to infuse.
2 Put the lentils in a small saucepan and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender but not mushy – this may take as little as 5 minutes, or up to 20 minutes, depending on the age of your lentils, so check them regularly. Drain well
and set aside.
3 Preheat the barbecue grill to medium.
4 Cut the pumpkin in half, then scoop out and discard the seeds. Leaving the skin on, cut the pumpkin into wedges no thicker than 2 cm ( in). Brush the flesh with the rice bran oil and cook on the grill for 10 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through, checking regularly to ensure it doesn’t burn too much.
5 Put the hot pumpkin in a large bowl with the onion, herbs and lentils. Stir the dressing, then pour it over the pumpkin.
6 Toss gently to combine. Serve warm.
Recipes and images from King of the Grill by Ross Dobson (Murdoch Books) $39.99 available now.