Spiced and herbed puy lentil salad
A salad that travels well and is more than a sum of its parts. Rice, quinoa or normal couscous can be used in place of the giant couscous if you like.
Prep 20 min
Cook 40 min
100g raisins or currants
4 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 x 400g tin cooked puy lentils, drained, or 250g home-cooked
150g wholemeal giant couscous
4 sticks celery, finely chopped, any leaves reserved
1 large bunch each parsley and coriander, leaves picked
For the dressing
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
Seeds from 4 cardamom pods or ¼ tsp ground cardamom
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
Zest and juice of 2 unwaxed limes
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Soak the raisins in the vinegar and leave to one side.
If you are cooking your lentils yourself, then cook in boiling water for 20-30 minutes until soft but still holding their shape. Cook the giant couscous in boiling salted water according to packet instructions, then drain well.
Make the dressing. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan for a couple of minutes, until they smell fragrant. Add the ground spices, stir quickly, then take the pan off the heat and tip the lot into a mortar. Bash with the pestle until they are broken down a bit. Tip into a jam jar, add all the rest of the dressing ingredients and shake to mix well.
Drain the lentils and put in a large bowl with the couscous, chopped celery and dressing. Roughly chop most of the herbs on a board, drain the raisins and add to the pile of herbs, chop the lot together, then add to the lentils. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and taste, adding more salt, pepper, lime and oil as needed. Remember, it will mellow a little as it sits. When you are ready to eat, scatter over the rest of the herbs and any celery leaves, and pile into bowls.
IMAGE: Matt Rusell for The Guardian