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La Bomba - Spicy Lentil Crostini For The Win #LoveLentils

The Contest
Once again, the time comes in a young girl's life where she has to come up with a recipe for the annual Lentil's Canada recipe contest. This year, the theme is "Star of the Show" and all of the entrants must make a short video to go with their recipe, so here is mine  - please feel free to go and watch it, like it, share it using the hashtag #LoveLentils . You can see all of the great entries  here 

2016 has been declared the International Year of the Pulse by the UN and the fact that Canada is the world's largest producer and exporter of lentils was not lost on me. Even though I cook with them often anyway, I am making a concerted effort to make sure they are on the menu at least a couple times a week this winter.

Last year, my Dulce De Lentil Ice Cream took first place in the Dessert Catagory, was featured in the Ebook along with my Spicy Caramel Corn With Crispy Lentils, a runner up in the freestyle catagory. The year before, myCauliflower "Wings" Three Ways won the grand prize as well as coming in second the year before that - it's safe to say that I know my way around a lentil. Over the years I have turned this noble pulse into a caramel sauce, praline and flour. I have baked them, deep fried them, pulverized them and coated them in candy syrup so this year, I decided to change gears and do something simple. I wanted to celebrate the wonderful flavour and texture of the lentil instead of bending it to my will and turning it into something surprising. No more clever girl this time, time to let the lentil shine.

If you have never had La Bomba, you need to run out right now and buy a bottle of this spicy, Sicilian antipasto made with eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, in oil is the bomb. Pun intended.

 The other thing I wanted to add was some crispy, salty, smoky Spanish Chorizo Salami. I had a pack of Chorizo from Espuna, a Spanish company that is just launching their line of Tapas Essentials here in Canada and it was exactly the little something something the dish was crying out for. The Sicilian Bomba, Italian Olives, Spanish Chorizo and mint make for a tasty, cross cultural tapa in it's own right.

As always, I only accept products to try that I am pretty sure I am going to love so there was no second guessing when Espuna asked if I would be interested in trying out some stuff. Two years ago, I planned a big tapas spread for our Christmas Eve party only to find that getting my hands on real Spanish ingredients was not all that easy in Toronto and when I did find stuff, it was really expensive and I had to drive to the bowels of the north, west end of the city to find it. If someone is telling me that they are importing this stuff to sell in the grocery store, I am all over that so I was all over it like a fat dog on a ham bone.
Over the holidays, I served a bunch of stuff from the tapas line to very happy friends who were all pretty thrilled that they can buy tasty, authentic Spanish tapas products at the supermarket at last.

Leftovers are great tossed with tomatoes and feta as a salad, maybe with some sliced, marinated octopus on top 

So, without further ado:

The Recipe

La Bomba - Spicy Lentil Crostini

1 baguette, sliced on the diagonal

1/4 cup plus 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dry, black cured olives, pitted and finely chopped
2 1/2 tbls white balsamic vinegar
3 tbls bomba (or to taste)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
*15 oz cooked, puy lentils (about 1 3/4 cups cooked lentils)
60 grams of spanish chorizo, finely chopped and fried until crispy ( I used Espuna Chorizo Salami)
fresh mint
salt and pepper

* You can boil your lentils in a pot of water with a pinch of salt, a few sprigs of thyme, a garlic clove and a bay leaf. I cooked mine in the pressure cooker by adding 4 cups of water to 1 cup of puy lentils, salt, thyme, garlic and bay leaf and cooking them at high pressure for 10 minutes and natural pressure release. You actually want to overcook them slightly so that they are very soft

Brush both sides of each slice of bread with olive oil and then grill the bread on a bbq, a grill pan or in the oven to make toasts and set aside.

Mix your chopped olives, vinegar, bomba and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a bowl. Add a small pinch of kosher salt and some freshly cracked  black pepper- you won't need much salt as the olives and chorizo are already salty. If you want it to be spicier, add more bomba now. Throw in the lentils and the chorizo, scraping in all of the orange oil in the chorizo pan that has seeped out of the meat and mix it all together. Add a tbls of fresh mint.

Mound the lentils on the slices of toasted bread and top each with a sprig of mint.

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