I was never a fan of lentil soup until I discovered beluga lentils — so named because when they are sauteed for a sec in oil they shine like beluga caviar. They hold their shape much better than drabby french lentils yet require the same minimal commitment time- and energy-wise. The special thing about this recipe is the use of anchovies — don’t balk! Don’t even tell anyone you’re putting them in there. It adds a mysterious dimension to the soup that is better left shrouded in secrecy. With a loaf of crusty bread and a green salad, you’ve got a healthy dinner on the table in under 30.
olive oil for pan and for drizzling
1/2 large onion chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 or 3 flat-filet anchovies such as Cento, minced
salt and pepper to taste (remember, anchovies are salty, so don’t go crazy)
1 to 2 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
1 cup beluga lentils
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Parmesan, shaved or grated to taste
Sautee onions, carrots, celery, and anchovies in oil until slightly softened. Add salt and pepper.
Add garlic and stir in for about 30 seconds. Add lentils and stir until the belugas look like shiny beautiful caviar and are coated in oil. Add broth, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Keep an eye on the lentils as they cook. You want to have them covered by about an inch of liquid as they go. Test for doneness starting at 20 minutes. (At this point, too, test for saltiness and add more if you desire.) Lentils should be able to hold their shape, but still be tender. Lentils should be ready after 25 to 30 minutes. Spoon into bowls and top with Parm and a generous drizzle of oil.