Scallops' Lentil Treatment

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

There are many kinds of lentils, but I think one of the tastiest is the little green French variety, marbled like a tortoise shell, called Verte de Puy. It has a rich, nutty flavor and retains its firm texture after cooking, making it the perfect base for many other ingredients.

I like to combine green lentils with contrasting flavors and textures like tart currants, vinegary onions, walnuts and peppery arugula. Paired with seared scallops and maybe a bottle of Fume Blanc, this meal is perfect when you want something fast, yet a little special.

Look for French lentils at specialty markets and gourmet grocery stores.

Warm Lentil Salad With Seared Scallops

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes

*

1 cup French green lentils, rinsed

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/4 cup currants

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tablespoon lemon juice

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Salt, pepper

1 cup baby arugula

12 large sea scallops

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the lentils, bay leaf, thyme and enough water to cover in medium pot. Simmer until the lentils are just tender, about 25 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, combine the onion and vinegar in a small bowl. Let them stand 5 minutes, drain and reserve the vinegar.

Place the currants in 1/2 cup warm water to plump, 10 minutes. Drain.

Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them until fragrant and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Coarsely chop them and set them aside.

Whisk together the reserved vinegar, lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, the mint and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Dry the scallops thoroughly with paper towels. Season them with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining olive oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, brown the scallops about 1 minute on each side. Remove them from the pan to a plate.

Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaf. Combine them with the onions, walnuts, currents, arugula and vinaigrette while still warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the lentil salad on individual plates with the scallops.

4 servings. Each serving: 389 calories; 213 mg sodium; 28 mg cholesterol; 28 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 17 grams carbohydrates; 21 grams protein; 5.60 grams fiber.

MENU

Warm Lentil Salad With Seared Scallops

French Bread

Fume Blanc

STAPLES

Bay leaf

Lemon juice

Olive oil

Red onion

Dried thyme

White wine vinegar

SHOPPING LIST

Arugula

Currants

French green lentils

Fresh mint

Fresh oregano

Sea scallops

Walnuts

GAME PLAN

30 minutes before: Cook lentils. Marinate onions, soak currants, toast walnuts.

15 minutes before: Chop herbs and make vinaigrette.

5 minutes before: Sear scallops.

Just before serving: Assemble salad.

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