Warm Salad of Lentilles Verde with Fennel
A great side dish, equally good served warm or at room temperature. Lentils make a great accompaniment to everything from grilled fish to roast pork, or in a vegetarian meal alongside baked butternut squash or a pile of caramelized roasted root vegetables like parsnips, celery root, and carrots. But this lentil salad can be a meal in itself – mix in chunks of fresh, crumbly goat cheese and a handful of toasted nuts, and a drizzle of toasted sesame or macadamia oil.
Option: add morsels of cooked, smoky bacon or ham.
INGREDIENTS:For the lentils:
- 1 1/4 cup (250g) French green lentils
- 1 bay leaf a few springs of fresh thyme salt
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 1 medium onion peeled and finely diced
- 1 bulb of fennel, finely diced, optional freshly ground pepper
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 small shallot, peeled and minced
1. Rinse the lentils and remove any foreign matter.
2. Transfer the lentils to a large saucepan then cover with a copious amount of water, which should cover the lentils by at least 3-4 inches. Add the bay leaf and thyme.
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, add a bit of salt, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are just tender, adding more water if necessary. Be sure not to overcook them.
4. While the lentils are cooking, heat a few spoonfuls of olive oil in a skillet and add the carrots, onions, and fennel (if using). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently until tender. Set aside.
5. In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
6. When the lentils are done, drain them well, then toss them in the vinaigrette with the cooked vegetables. Stir a few times to release the steam. Taste, and season with more salt, pepper, and olive oil if desired. Remove bay leave and thyme sprigs. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cooked lentils will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. They can be reheated in a pan on the stovetop.