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?The French countryside, with its romantic rolling hills, painterly skies, and centuries-old villages is one of my favorite places to visit. And with family living there half the year, I try and make those visits as frequent as possible. We love cooking and eating and chatting the day away, and we always make good use of seasonal specialties from the local markets in impromptu recipes. This brain-healthy dish is the result of one such spontaneous supper, which has since reappeared many times in my kitchen back in California.? ?Julie Morris
1 « cups Puy (French) lentils, or black lentils 1 bay leaf Sea salt and ground black pepper 3 cups radishes 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 3 large cloves garlic, pressed 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint ¬ cup minced fresh chives 3 tablespoons hemp seeds, divided 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 cups (packed) mch or baby spinach « cup almond ricotta
Preheat the oven to 450øF. In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the lentils and the bay leaf with about 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer gently until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 15?20 minutes. Drain the lentils in a colander over the sink, and remove the bay leaf. Transfer the lentils to a bowl and season them with « teaspoon salt and « teaspoon ground black pepper. Cover the bowl to keep the lentils warm. Meanwhile, clean and trim the radishes, removing the stems, while leaving their tails intact. Halve the radishes lengthwise, and quarter any large halves. Warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in an ovenproof saute pan* over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the radishes to the pan in a single layer (flat side down as much as possible), season generously with salt and pepper, and cook for 2?3 minutes to lightly sear the bottoms. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the garlic, distributing it well, and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast the radishes for 7?12 minutes (depending on their size), until they are vibrantly red and lightly golden on the edges. Remove the pan from the oven. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked lentils, roasted radishes and their cooking juices, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the mint, chives, 2 tablespoons of the hemp seeds, lemon juice, and the mache or baby spinach to the bowl. Toss the mixture to combine and season to taste with additional salt and pepper as desired. Add the almond ricotta to the mixture in small dollops and fold it into the mixture gently, retaining the dollops as much as possible. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of hemp seeds on top, and serve warm or at room temperature.