Thursday, May 12, 2011

Arugula and Lentil Salad--from London's Borough

I happened to be in London during the week of the royal wedding. "Happened" is the right word, as my visit was almost incidental. I was accompanying my mom on her trip back to Poland, and spent a few days in London on my homebound leg.

I was very lucky with the weather--70 F all the time and clear skies. I did wardrobe shopping at my favorite COS, watched Brits getting excited by the approaching royal wedding, and discovered a few places I had no chance to see before. One of them I heard a lot about was Borough. It is well known among foodies mostly because of its food market.

I got there on a sunny morning when vendors just started to open their stands. They were in a rush to take their produce from the boxes. I must say their fruits and vegetables were amazingly fresh looking. The merchants were slightly annoyed with tourists like me, obsessively taking pictures of what they had to sell rather than buying it. And what this market--not a big place at all--can offer is pretty impressive. You can prepare an excellent gourmet dinner party from the stuff you can get there, starting with sophisticated salads, through fantastic fish and meats, very fresh vegetables, and finishing with the best Swiss cheese and French wines.

This place must be impressive by any standards; many Italian and Spanish tourists were admiring the freshness and the variety of products sold and, like me, were taking pictures, perhaps for their own food blogs .

Borough market is quite a trip if you were to go there just to do your regular food shopping. And even an attractive neighbourhood may not be enough of an excuse to go there and shop for food, as I am not sure that walking through Miro exhibition at Tate Modern with a pound of fresh halibut or digging into a Shakespeare bookstore with an aromatic Comté would be an appealing idea. So I wonder who the everyday clients of the market are.

Around noon, when I was about to leave the market I notice a very long line at one of the stands. All that was sold there was one type of salad, that the lady selling it was assembling for the patiently waiting clients. It was lunch time so partly out of curiosity and partly out of a genuine appetite I also bought one such box, sat at the river bank, and ate its content. It was simple but tasty.

Arugula and Lentil Salad

4 cups of arugula,
2 cups of lentils (cooked or from a can),
2 carrots, shredded,
6 oz mozzarella,
1 cup(about 6-8 oz) grape tomatoes,
a few slices of prosciutto,
3 tbsp olive oil,
juice from half lemon,
2 garlic cloves,minced
salt and pepper.

1. Arrange arugula on a plate in a nest leaving an hole in the middle.
2. Mix carrot, garlic, and lentils and put them inside the arugula nest.
3. Throw on top tomatoes and mozzarella cut into small cubes.
4. Mix olive oil with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and drizzle over the salad.
5. Put on top prosciutto cut into slices .

Serve alone or with fresh bread.

And some pictures from Borough: