Taste and goodness in green and purple - Puy lentil, purple broccoli, asparagus and green beans

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This is an elegant and tasty side dish for - well anything you want to serve it with really. I served it this time with pan seared tuna steaks, but it would go well with any lamb or game dish or duck for instance. A veggie might add some more veggies and scoff it down on its own, it’s that good.  And you can be creative with the selection of the veg. The broccoli doesn’t need to be purple, but I would go for the long tenderstem variety. I think the chubby everyday broccoli just lacks a bit of breeding for this particular dish.  Haricot verts on the contrary I feel can be replaced by their slightly fatter common cousins. Asparagus is not mandatory but it does make your pee smell funny which is a good reason to put it everywhere.

Seared tuna with Puy lentil, purple broccoli, asparagus and green beans


I really love the texture and earthy elegance of the Puy lentils – they are like a very refined and cultured farmer, there’s a definite whiff of cow poo about them, but they would be completely at home and welcome in the finest Paris society. They are strong and broad shouldered and proud of their mountain plateau roots but still have a certain gracefulness about them. Happy with who they are unlike their less confident lentil cousins Le Puy A.O.C keep their composure in the hottest of circumstances and don’t turn into mush the moment you leave them boiling a minute too long.

And joy of joys,  I only just realized that my most beloved cooking companion white wine works wonders here as well. It gives an added polish to the dish. Or as Jamie Oliver might say a hum.  Next time I might try some French booze, like Pastis. Or maybe not.

Husband mentioned several time how good the food was, the orange and soy marinated tuna was very tasty, but he really loved the lentils as did I. 

Puy lentils with green vegetables recipe (Serves 4)


1.5 cup of puy lentils
3.5 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
0.5 cup white wine
4 spring onions
200 g purple sprouting broccoli
150 g asparagus
100 g haricot verts
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper

Rinse the lentils until water runs clear, drain and pour in a lidded deep sauce pan, add the stock and white wine and cook according to the pack instructions.

Heat the oven to about 200C. Trim the  vegetables cutting of the hard bits of the broccoli stems and asparagus. Cut the asparagus spears diagonally into about 1 inch pieces, cut the haricot verts into two, chop the spring onions. Put all the vegetable on a baking tray or oven dish, drizzle with oil and balsamico, squeeze on the juice of half a lemon, season with salt and pepper. As Barefood Contessa would say “with clean hands” mix it all up. Strangely she only says this when she's handling vegetables she's planning to roast. I would have thought it's always good to have clean hands when cooking.

Then bake about 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Drain the lentils and mix in the veggies. Check seasoning and add a drizzle of oil / squeeze of lemon or salt and pepper if necessary. I’m sure a fresh  herb would not go amiss, this time I didn’t use anything, but I could imagine some fresh parsley or oh, ooh, forgot I had marjoram in my garden, that might have been nice!

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