Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lentil Salad

This Lentil salad was so amazing. We've found that you have to get the french lentils for a cold salad. They don't turn to mush and hold up very well. We found them in the bulk section of our local natural foods store. The combinations of all the flavors really make this dish. It was still great the next day but all the flavors sort of mingled into one and it wasn't as complex. High score on the YUMMY-meter!

8 ounces French green lentils
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
French Vinaigrette, recipe follows
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips, cooked until crisp, and drained (optional)
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese

In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, bay leaves, thyme, carrot, celery, shallot, and garlic. Cook until vegetables are soft. Cover with water by 1-inch, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until just tender yet still firm, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and discard the bay leaves, and thyme. Place the lentil mixture in a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add the tomatoes and chopped herbs and toss the lentils with some of the vinaigrette. Top with bacon and goat cheese and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Serve with crusty bread or fish or chicken.

French Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil

Whisk together the vinegar, shallot, mustard, salt and pepper. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Use at once or cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.

Yield: 1 1/3 cups

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