Lentils with anchovies and capers on crispy toast
Irini describes herself as a 'playful cook' and this is a very playful version of the classic Greek lentil soup, 'fakés'.
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, finely sliced
- 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 500 gm 500g brown lentils
- 1 400 gm tin chopped tomatoes, or 3 beef tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- approx 2 litres vegetable stock
- 3-5 tbsp red wine vinegar
For the anchovy and caper toast
- 8 anchovies in oil, well drained and chopped.
- 1 tbsp capers, rinsed
- 2 tbsp cream cheese
- 1 tsp unwaxed lemon zest
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 slices of good bread,toasted
- paprika (optional)
- Greek yoghurt or double cream (optional)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
To make the soup, start by gently cooking the onion, garlic and carrots in half the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the lentils and stir for 2–3 minutes.Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, bay leaves, sugar and cumin, then add enough vegetable stock to cover the lentils by a few centimetres. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook until the lentils are tender. You will need to add more stock as they cook, and the time taken will depend on the type of lentils, but it will vary from 45 minutes to 11⁄2 hours.When cooked, leave to cool a little, then remove the bay leaves and transfer toa blender. Blitz until you have a smooth purée consistency, then return the soup to the pan. If you like your soup to have a thinner consistency, add more stock. Season with salt and pepper, and add the vinegar, a tablespoon at a time, to taste. Bring back to the heat and warm thoroughly before serving.
MAKING THE ANCHOVY AND CAPER TOAST
To make the anchovy and caper toast, place all the ingredients except the bread and paprika in a small food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. Cut the toasted bread into long thin pieces and spread sparingly with the paste and sprinkle with the paprika.
Serve the soup with a swirl of Greek yoghurt or double cream, if you like, sprinkled with the parsley, with a drizzle of some good-quality extra virgin olive oil, and with the toast on the side.