We’re Cooking: Fresh Greens from Garden Cafe with Lentils


Last week I had a chance to have lunch at one of my favorite spots in town, with some of my favorite people. Garden Cafe with my Forum 501 friends, a powerful…and very fun group of women in the PR and writing industries in town. While there, Garden Cafe owner, Dale Wootton gifted me a beautiful bunch of greens – Lemon Sorrell, that he recently started selling to the Green Grocer on Greenville.  He said it is similar to spinach for cooking reference,  and challenged me to create something fabulous.
This is the result,  simply sautéed with onion, garlic and mushrooms,  even adding a baby banana pepper Gary picked that morning from our little garden. I served it on a pile of wine and stock infused lentils with a  piece of mustard and herb roasted salmon, pairing it with a stellar bottle of Grgich Hills Chardonnay.  I am not the biggest braggert of my food, often looking to Gary for the thumbs up…..but this, this was a beautiful plate of delicious food.




Garden Cafe Greens with Lentils
For the greens –
1 bunch Lemon Sorrell, tough stems removed and roughly chopped
1/3 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 baby bella or white mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 lemon
1 small medium hot pepper, sliced (optional)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, we used dill and parsley

For the lentils –
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small white onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
4 mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon Garahm Masala
Pinch red pepper flakes
8 ounces lentils (any kind you like, rinsed and sorted
3-4 cups stock,  we used vegetable
1 cup white wine
3 tablespoons chopped herbs
Salt and pepper

Make the lentils at least 30 minutes ahead of time by heating a medium size Dutch oven to medium heat. Add the oil,  garlic, red pepper and mushrooms, stirring often a day cooking until soft. Add the lentils and Garahm Masala and stir to coat, then add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally until most of it has evaporated.  Add the stock and take the heat to medium low to simmer until they are cooked to your taste. After about 10 minutes, with about 10-15 minutes left of cooking time, add the herbs and season generously with pepper, and salt, but watch the salt if using a salty stock.
When the lentils have cooked start the greens by heating a sauté pan with the oil and adding the onion, garlic, mushrooms and pepper.  Cook until soft, adding the white wine half way through (after about 5 minutes.) When the mix is soft add the greens, squeeze of the lemon and half the herbs and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until just wilted then quickly plate by piling a heaping spoonful of lentils on your plate and topping with the greens.  Finish with the remaining herbs and serve


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