black and white: currant and lentil salad

I'm back home after a couple of hot and hectic weeks on the road. Yesterday, as I was out restocking my fridge, I noticed there were still some baskets of currants hanging around, so I thought I would share this quick recipe.

Nigel Slater is my go-to-guy when it comes to cooking quickly, efficiently, and deliciously when you have only a little time and a lot of hunger. So it is no surprise that this salad recipe comes from his book Real Fast Food. I have mentioned before that in moments of week-night hunger I usually resort to pasta, so I bought this book in an effort to mix things up.

Nigel is teaching me that lentils are just as quick, tasty, and reliable as pasta, and when paired with white currants pretty beautiful for a quick meal. The lentils are nutty. The currants are tart. The effort is minimal. It checks off all of the boxes.    

As with all lentil dishes, overcooking the lentils is the death of this dish. If you are planning ahead, go ahead and soak the lentils overnight or for a few hours in water. However, this recipe is great because it is simple, fresh and good and can be made on a whim. In other words, don't worry if you forgo soaking. But if you do soak, make sure to keep an even more attentive eye on them so that they do not overcook. 

Black Lentil and White Currant Salad

adapted from Nigel Slater's 'Real Fast Food'

serves 2


180g / 6oz beluga lentils
100g / 400z white currants
a half dozen or so fresh chives, chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
coarse salt
freshly ground pepper

Wash the lentils in a sieve under running water. Place them in a pot and fill the pot with water so that the lentils are covered by a good inch. Bring the water to a boil and cook until they are tender but not mushy, about 12 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl.

Top and tail the currants and add to the lentils. Snip the chives into 1-cm lengths (1/2-inch) and add them to the lentils, as well as the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix everything gently, so as not to crush the currants. Serve. 


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