It's Super Bowl Sunday and peeps are obsessed. Especially in New York. Who's going to win? Will Madonna's performance be memorable? Are there any commercials left that haven't already been promoted to death all week on TV? What should we eat?? I think its kind of funny that food magazines put a lot of effort into inventing extra special Super Bowl menus and that the morning TV programs are riddled with the latest decorating ideas for your Super Bowl party. Ummm...when it comes to sporting events shouldn't you just order some pizzas and call it a day? Why get themey and make it more difficult than it has to be? (Save that effort for Cinco de Mayo.) Either you're into football and want to watch the game, or it's just another excuse to hang with your friends and to eat some nachos.
Since it's just another day to me, I'm making yet another lentil concoction. (You might be more interested tomorrow after your hefty beer and mozzarella stick intake tonight.) And it's covered in bacon! I know. Delish. Since I eat a lot of lentils, I'm always looking for a new twist in my preparation. Bacon made my quinoa taste better, so I knew it had to add that special something to my lentils as well. And it does. Hope your teams wins.
Warm Lentil and Smoked Pork Belly Salad
Adapted from The New York Times
3/4 pound smoked pork belly, or good-quality slab bacon, cut 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
1 large onion, halved
4 thyme branches
1 small carrot, peeled
1 cup small green French lentils, cleaned and rinsed
1 small bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 pound fingerling potatoes
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fruity olive oil
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cornichons or other sour gherkins, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallions, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
1. Put the pork belly or bacon in a pot with one of the onion halves, 2 small thyme branches and the carrot. Cover with a quart of water and simmer gently until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep warm in liquid.
2. Meanwhile, put the lentils in a medium pot. Add the other 1/2 onion, 2 small thyme branches and the bay leaf. Add 4 cups water and a little salt. Simmer gently over medium heat until firm-tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain (discard the onion, thyme and bay leaf) and keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in their skins in well-salted water until done, about 15 minutes. Drain and keep warm.
4. Make the vinaigrette: Macerate the shallot in the red wine vinegar for 5 minutes in a small bowl. Add the garlic, Dijon mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil to make a thick sauce. Stir in the chopped capers and cornichons. Just before serving, stir in 1/4 cup scallions and 1/2 cup parsley.
5. To serve, dress the lentils with half the vinaigrette, then transfer to a platter or serving bowl. Slice the pork belly crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (save the broth for soup) and arrange over the lentils. Cut the potatoes lengthwise and arrange, cut-side up, around the platter. Spoon the remaining vinaigrette over the sliced meat and potatoes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon each scallions and parsley. Makes 4 to 6 servings.