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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] W[/dropcap]hen I was living in California, back in my wine-making days, I was introduced to the concept of ‘pot lucking’. If you’re in Australia you may know it as ‘bringing a plate.’
The idea is everyone brings something to eat to the party and you make a meal of whatever turns up. Personally I think ‘pot luck’ is a much more poetic name.
It’s a brilliant way to share the load, especially for large get-togethers when there are many mouths to feed. So with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite dishes to take along to a pot luck event.
Basically you’re looking for dishes that are happy to sit around for a few hours. And things that aren’t too fussy about the temperature that they’re served.
And of course you want them to be super delicious and a little unusual so there are lots of comments of ‘who made the (insert your dish here)? It’s amazing.’ After all, aren’t we cooks all in it for the compliments? I know I am ;)
16 ideas for ‘pot lucking’ this thanksgiving
lentil & fennel salad
As I mentioned above, I’m often surprised how many people don’t cook lentils but when they try them in something like this salad, get super excited. It makes me happy to share the lentil love.
I find most legume-based salads are very forgiving and most actually taste better after a few hours of being neglected.
enough for 6-8 as a side
250g (9oz) small puy or ‘French-style’ green lentils
2 heads baby fennel
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 handfuls shaved hard cheese such as ossu iraty or parmesan
1. Bring a medium pot of water to the boil. Add lentils and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender (you want them softer than ‘al dente’ pasta).
2. Drain lentils very well then return to the pot. Stir in vinegar, soy and 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
3. Taste and add a little more vinegar, soy or salt as needed.
4. Trim fennel, reserve green dill-like fronds and finely chop. Shave bulbs super finely with a mandoline or a sharp knife and a steady hand.
5. Toss fennel and fronds in with the lentils. Serve salad with cheese scattered over.
dairy-free / vegan – replace cheese with roasted nuts such as pine nuts or almonds.
carnivore – replace cheese with prosciutto or finely sliced salami.
no sherry vinegar? – use rice vinegar or white wine vinegar. Balsamic would be good too.
different veg – replace fennel with a few generous handfuls of baby spinach leaves. Or try other shaved vegetables such as raw zucchini, beets or asparagus.
main course salad – just serve with extra cheese – I think goats cheese or ricotta is really nice for a main course.
Video version of the recipe.
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