An earthy, peppery spread over toasted bread creates the perfect starter course that will keep you feeling grounded, with lots of endurance.
Makes 4-8 servings
extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, finely diced
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, smashed, minced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1 cup green or brown lentils, rinsed well
3 cups spring or filtered water
½ roasted red bell pepper, diced
1 whole grain baguette, thickly sliced (½-1 inch)
Place a small amount of oil along with onion and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat. When the onion begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté until onions are translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add carrot and celery, a pinch of salt and sauté until shiny with oil. Spread veggies over the bottom of the pot and add bay leaf. Top with lentils and water. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are quite soft, about 35-40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and simmer 3-5 minutes more. If any cooking liquid remains, remove lid and cook over medium heat until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, stir in a generous splash of balsamic vinegar and transfer to a food processor. Puree, by pulsing, until thick and semi-smooth. You want a pate-like texture, not a cream. Fold in roasted red pepper.
To prepare the crostini, slice the bread to desired thickness and place on a baking sheet. Brush lightly with oil on top side and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake at 400o until golden and crispy for about 8 minutes. Set a timer so you don’t burn the bread.
Spread pate on toasted bread and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.