How to cook lentils according to chef Vincenzo Candiano

How to cook lentils according to chef Vincenzo Candiano

Not only at Christmas: let’s find out how to taste lentils at any time of the year thanks to the advice of the Sicilian chef Vincenzo Candiano.

With the approach of the cold season, we acquire more and more interest in legumes, for example lentils , a nutritionally complete food, rich in minerals, fibers and vitamins.we got advice from chef vincenzo candiano to best prepare lentilsSymbol of prosperity, in the past they were considered the meat of the poor, but today lentils are increasingly used and valued by great masters of Italian cuisine and beyond. We wanted to deepen the subject with the Sicilian chef Vincenzo Candiano, patron of Locanda Don Serafino in the historic center of Ragusa. Born in 1979, son of the owner of a small farm, Candiano became passionate about cooking after an experience in a restaurant close to home, a fortuitous event that started a good career for the Sicilian chef, a path that led him to achieve his first Michelin star in 2007 by crowning his work at the Locanda. Vincenzo Candiano’s cuisine is characterized by a contemporary reinterpretation of traditional local dishes and ingredients and lentils are never lacking on the winter menu . Let’s see what advice the chef gave us to best treat this legume.

vincenzo candiano

First, what variety of lentils do you recommend using?
” I use Leonforte lentils and Ustica lentils for a discussion of territoriality: most of our customers are not Sicilian and therefore we are pleased to offer and let you taste the products of the area “.

And in which recipes?
“ I find the lentils of Ustica for example excellent paired with shellfish or fish. In Ragusa we use a lot of legumes with pork and in my opinion even lentils go well with these flavors. In this case, use the fattest parts and the bacon or cook them and then pass them, leaving a few whole grains in order to create a game of textures and allow you to recognize the ingredient “.

lentil soup

Let’s go back to cooking: what is the secret to cooking lentils?
“ The cooking time depends on tastes and needs. For example, if we want to make lentils in salads, in my opinion it is better to have legumes al dente, while for soups I recommend abundant cooking. One trick is to soak them in water and a pinch of salt for 2-3 hours. If the lentils are small, less time is sufficient. In this way the peel acquires elasticity and remains more crunchy even during cooking. After the soaking time, remember to rinse the legumes and then cook them. At the end of cooking, about 5-10 minutes before, season with salt, let it absorb and the lentils are ready “.

So is it better to prepare lentils by soaking them before cooking them?
” I do it only if necessary, otherwise it is enough to wash them well and eliminate any waste such as leaves and twigs that can be found if you buy an artisan product “.


And with this ingredient does the sauté go or not?
“ In my opinion it’s a matter of taste. Traditionally in my part of the country it is not used, but the lentils are boiled in not too abundant water. Maybe you can add a carrot, a spring onion, a stalk of celery and, for some, even a potato; everything must be cut into large enough chunks so that they cook evenly and we do not find the vegetables and lentils still hard “.

Last question: are you working on that new lentil dish?
Vincenzo laughs: “We will certainly add something to the menu in the coming months but here it is 32 degrees, we still go to the beach, I just can’t think about winter “.

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