“How many more days left of school?” Liam asks me this question every morning. He loves school, but the promise of long golden evenings and lazy mornings is tantalizing to us all. Spring in Austin holds so much promise–the streets full of visitors arriving for sxsw with energy and ideas, the trees leafing out, poppies blooming, the fields green with promise, the creeks and rivers full–it’s hard to be contained, to stay still, to focus. I find myself only starting to think about dinner around 6:30, and searching for dishes that can come to the table with a minimum of effort. With the windows open and a glass of vino verde in hand, I can have this on the table in twenty minutes. And that’s a good thing. Spring is so beautiful and so fleeting, I don’t want to miss a minute of it.
Red Lentils & Winter Greens with Coconut, Ginger and Crispy Green Garlic
1 c. red lentils, soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes
1 Tbs. fresh grated ginger
2-3 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch winter greens, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
3 green garlic stems, whites only, sliced thin (you can also use shallot if you don’t have green garlic)
grapeseed oil for sauteeing and frying (coconut oil is also delicious for sauteeing greens)
Heat 1″ of grapeseed oil in a small skillet with sides. Fry garlic until lightly browned and crisp. Remove to paper towel or paper bag with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain red lentils. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbs. coconut oil or grapeseed oil until shimmering. Add ginger and spring onions and stir-fry briefly. Add greens and saute until just wilted. Remove greens, ginger and onions to a bowl and set aside. Heat 1 Tbs. grapeseed oil in skillet. Add lentils and spread out in a shallow layer. Let them fry for a moment or two, then use a spatula to scrape and turn them. Spread out again and let them fry for a minute more until a golden crust begins to form. Scrape them up, toss, and add greens mixture to the skillet. Pour in coconut milk and stir until everything is heated through. Place in serving bowls and top with crispy fried garlic.