Beluga (buh-LOO-guh) lentils

What it means

Slightly pricey by lentil standards, belugas aren't nearly as costly as their namesake, beluga caviar. When cooked, the tiny black lentils - popular in southeast Asia, where they show up in soups - glisten in a fish egg-like fashion. Because of their striking color and quick cooking time, beluga lentils have lately emerged as a restaurant kitchen favorite. The earthy, nutty-tasting lentils don't lose their distinctive firmness when cooked, which makes them a good choice for salads.

Where we saw it

The Gathering Cafe Restaurant (Beluga lentil and quinoa salad, $9.50)

Where else you can try it

Beluga lentils have made cameo appearances at restaurants, including Circa 1886, FIG and Old Village Post House. They have a permanent spot on the menu at Muse, where they accompany the sea bass.

Where to buy it

Whole Foods, 923 Houston Northcutt Blvd., sells bagged beluga lentils.