French Lentil Salad
Ingredients: (note – use organic whenever possible)
1 C dried French lentils (also called lentils du puy)
1 bay leaf
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t Dijon mustard
1 T red wine vinegar
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 t herbes de Provence
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 C chopped parsley
Place lentils in a fine mesh sieve, rinse under cool water. Pour into a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a bay leaf. Heat pan over high heat until boiling, then cover the pan and lower heat to low, keeping the lentils simmering. Cook for 18-20 minutes, until tender and al-dente. Pour into the fine mesh sieve, rinse again with cool water, and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Meanwhile, heat 2 T olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add the finely chopped onion, carrots and celery. Toss to coat in the hot oil. Lower heat to low and continue to cook until the vegetables are softened and slightly browned, 10-12 minutes. The low heat allows the vegetables to caramelize and get sweeter, by drawing out their natural sugars. Add the minced garlic and stir to combine, continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes.
While the lentils and vegetables are cooking, combine the Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly pour the extra virgin olive oil into the bowl, stirring continuously to form a creamy sauce. Add the herbes de Provence, folding them into the sauce. Season to taste with sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the cooked lentils into the sauté pan with the onion mixture and gently toss to combine. Add the sauce to the pan and stir to mix all of the components together. Gently reheat the mixture over low heat for 10 minutes, to allow all of the flavors to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Serve the lentil salad topped with freshly chopped parsley.
recipe yields 3-4 servings
double the ingredients to yield more servings
lentils can be cooked ahead of time, drained and kept in a covered container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days
leftover salad can be kept in a covered container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days
replace the red wine vinegar with balsamic or white wine vinegar for a different delicious flavor