I had food chain this weekend and I'd already decided I'd like to make corn bread for the evening meal as it's a tasty treat. But it does need a little something to go with it. Last time I added simple egg salads with peppers - for some reason I find the combination of sweet corn and sweet peppers a perfect match, I just love the mix of those flavours in my mouth.
I've been eating lots of spanishy things of late so thought I might extrapolate that experience into my companion piece. The other obvious restriction is that it had to be frugal (which is different to cheap!) - the whole budget for the day is only £3.50 a head. I wondered about roasting peppers with lots of onions then realised I could bulk it out very cheaply with lentils for their lovely earthy flavour and then tie it all together with a little garlic, sherry and olive oil dressing. Rather than just head straight in on Sunday with salad for 65 I tested it at home Friday night as the salad to go with our spinach omelette and garlic bread. Pleased to say it was a total triumph - a really lovely thing to eat. The man was very impressed.
Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Salad
3 peppers, red and yellow, cored and cut into 2cm squares
1 large spanish onion, or a couple of smaller ones, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
200g green lentils
1 clove garlic, peeled and puréed with a little salt
5 tbspns olive oil + oil for roasting
1 tbspn sherry vinegar
2 tbspn chopped parsley
Spread the chopped vegetables onto a baking tray that has very low sides - it means the moisture escapes as they cook rather than steaming them. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt. Roast in a moderate oven, Gas 5, for 45 minutes to an hour, mixing half way through, till the vegetables have collapsed and are a tiny bit charred in places.
At the same time cook the lentils in plain, unsalted water for ten minutes, then add a tspn of salt and cook for another 10 minutes till just al dente. Drain.
Whisk the oil, vinegar and garlic together with a little ground pepper.
When the onions and peppers are cooked to your liking tip them, with their cooking oil, into a bowl along with the drained lentils and chopped parsley. Stir through the dressing and check the seasoning. Serve at room temperature.
Worked a treat on a large scale on Sunday too - and my kitchen assistants loved it!
For the domestic version the cost is about £1.50 - and it kept very well in the fridge for a salad treat Saturday.