I have a ton of dried beans and rice in my pantry, so I decided to use up some of the extra red lentils in this dish. It sounds kind of weird and bland, so I was very nervous. The addition of harissa, a wondrously spicy ingredient, was intriguing, but I still had low expectations. Well, I was wrong. This was DELICIOUS. Even the salad, which at first seems totally un-needed, turned out to go super-well with everything else. I really, really liked this a lot. I would definitely make it again.
Lentil Cakes with Feta-Yogurt Sauce and Cucumber-Cress Salad
Martha Stewart Living, March 2012
Inspired by falafel, these cakes are made from a puree of raw red lentils, harissa, and scallions.
1 cup red lentils
3 scallions, pale-green and white parts chopped; greens thinly sliced on bias
1 tablespoon harissa
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
2 1/2 ounces goat's-milk or sheep's-milk feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon finely grated garlic
1/2 English cucumber, cut into half-moons (1 cup)
1/2 ounce upland cress or watercress (1 cup)
1/4 ounce fresh mint leaves (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons safflower oil
1. Cover lentils with 2 inches cold water. Soak 4 hours at room temperature or up to 1 day in refrigerator. Drain well. Pulse pale-green and white parts of scallions in a food processor until minced. Add harissa, turmeric, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and egg and egg white; pulse to combine. Add lentils; puree until almost smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl, and stir in a little more than half the feta.
2. Whisk remaining feta, the yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl. Combine cucumber, cress, and mint in another bowl.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place a scant tablespoon of scallion greens in pan, and spoon about an eighth of the batter on top, spreading to make a 3-inch cake. Repeat, making 4 cakes at a time. Cook until golden brown, flipping once, about 6 minutes. Add remaining teaspoon oil, and repeat.
4. Divide sauce among 4 plates; top with salad. Place cakes next to greens, and serve.