Sunday, May 29, 2011

French-Style Warm Lentil Salad

This recipe, from Orangette, was perfect. It was quite fast to make (so fast that I ended up serving dinner early). I doubled the quantities of carrot and celery, but that’s up to you. The Engineer was a little uncertain upon seeing it, but after sampling it, his scepticism melted away and he declared it to have a “harmonious blend of tastes”. I served it alongside sweet potato biscuits with ham, mustard and honey, and it was a delightful meal idea. It works well as a side, but also as a light lunch. I’ll be sure to keep this lentil salad recipe for future reference. These quantities make about 4 servings.

1 cup Puy lentils, picked over and rinsed
3 cups water
1 Turkish bay leaf
½ tsp salt, divided
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp plus ½ tsp red wine vinegar
½ Tbsp Dijon mustard
crunchy sea salt, for serving
2 Tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley, for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring the lentils, water, and bay leaf to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in ¼ teaspoon salt, and then simmer, covered, for another 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but not falling apart.

While the lentils simmer, warm 1 Tbsp of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and 1/8 tsp salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just softened, about 7 to 9 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together 2Tbsp vinegar, mustard, and remaining 1/8 tsp salt. Add the remaining 4 Tbsp olive oil, and whisk to emulsify.

When the lentils are ready, drain them in a colander or sieve, and discard the bay leaf. Dump them into the skillet with the vegetables, and add the vinaigrette. Cook over low heat, stirring gently, until heated through. Stir in the remaining ½ tsp vinegar, and serve warm, with crunchy salt and parsley for sprinkling.

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