Lentil Fritters with Mint, Cucumber, Tzatziki Sauce topped with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
5 ounces fresh Spinach
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Egg yolks
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh Oregano, chopped and blanched
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded and chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
Olive oil, as needed, for frying

Cook lentils at a simmer for about 20 minutes in water and kosher salt. Lentils should be firm but not have a crunchy texture. There will be some carryover cooking before they become cool. Strain off but don’t rinse. Put on a plate & leave out at room temperature, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Place in refrigerator uncovered until completely cooled. Makes 8 servings

Wash and spin-dry spinach. Sauté until tender, with olive oil, and season with a pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Squeeze out excess liquid from spinach and chop.

Combine 2 cups cooked lentils and the spinach with remaining ingredients in Kitchen Aid-style mixer, and mix on medium speed until all ingredients are incorporated and lentils start to break apart. Don’t over-mix. Taste mixture and season to taste.

Make small patties and fry at 350 degrees until golden brown. Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

– For the Tzatziki sauce:

1 1/2 cups Greek Traditional Yogurt
2 Tablespoons fresh Mint, chopped fine
3/4 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 English Cucumber
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 pinch fresh ground Black Pepper
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons fresh Garlic, peeled and chopped

Peel cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and scrape out seeds.

Cut cucumber into several pieces, place in food processor and blend until smooth and slushy. Transfer into bowl and stir in remaining ingredients.

Refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.

Yield: 8 servings (2 1/2 cups)