Flavorful ingredients, no matter how disparate, can make for an excellent meal, if you are creative…and lucky.
Today’s lunch is a case in point. The origins of this meal can be attributed to such distant places as Greece (leftover Briami — baked vegetables), Cyprus (Halloumi cheese), Japan (Shishito peppers), and the Punjab region in Central Asia (recipe used for Urad Dal – split black lentils). Naturally, an Italian wine brought things all together — Aliseo, from the Amalfi Coast.
Now I know you are thinking: how in the world does he come up with such a cockamamie group of ingredients? The answer is: one at a time. Two days ago I found a small jar of Urad Dal in a cabinet above the refrigerator. At the time, I was getting a rarely-used coffee grinder down for a meeting Barbara had planned with friends. I had cooked this Dal before, and it takes nicely to sautéeing, so I was thinking of how to combine it with something. Then, yesterday I went to Whole Foods and bought a new brand of Halloumi (Aphrodite – how could anyone pass up a cheese selected by Will Studd?), as well as a small package of Shishito peppers (my go-to frying peppers when I can’t find Padron peppers).
Of course, there are usually plenty of leftovers to choose from as well, such as the Greek vegetables, and some Jacob’s cattle beans, which I had cooked yesterday, and which always go nicely with legumes. The meal was easy:
- prepare the Dal, per recipe below
- sautée a few slices of halloumi
- sautée the Shishitos, and sprinkle them with sea salt
- heat up the leftover vegetables in the remaining heat of the sautée pan
- plate, pour, and serve