Lentils, olive oil, onions, garlic, rice, salt, cumin, pepper; lettuces, vinaigrette; raspberries
IT WAS THELONIOUS MONK, I think, who suddenly asked, while riding in the back seat of a car to some job or other, What make the car go? And someone who I imagine was riding in the front passenger seat started explaining all about carburetors and spark plugs and crankshafts and transmissions and all that, and then Monk interrupted, and said
I know all that, Monk said, What I want to know is, what make the car go?
Which is how I feel about chopped onions sweated in olive oil. It's perfectly simple: you put a little olive oil in a frying pan or a skillet, you heat it, you chop the onions (I have my way, Lindsey has hers) and put them in, maybe a little salt. Then something happens.
Of course onions are loaded with sugars: they darken the onion as it cooks, and convey sweetness. The oils carry the flavors. The whole thing marries, integrates. We say of love — of sexual attraction — that it's a matter of chemistry. Same is true of sweating onions in olive oil.
In any case, that's what Lindsey did, until the onions were crisp; and scattered them atop the pilaf:
Boil the lentils in water; simmer until tender; drain. Brown (gild, actually) the onions with a little minced garlic in olive oil, stirring often; add the rice, salt, cumin, and pepper, stir until the rice turns color (and this is hard to describe: it's like making risotto: it doesn't really color, it changes its degree of translucency).
Stir in the lentils and add water; bring to a boil; cover and simmer until done.
They were our own raspberries, the first of the season. The cherries are beginning to color, too: I set the toy rattlesnake out on one of the branches today to discourage the birds; tomorrow we have to flash-tape it. I had to prop the nectarine, too. Ça commence.
Cheap Nero d'Avila