Small beanie-type things again?
I know what you're thinking:
That our relationship--not even three-months-old--should still be about passion and unpredictability.
That it's too soon for us to be falling into a fibrous rut.
The truth is that this simple little lentil salad--inspired by a bistro staple--causes quite a stir around here. (Not uncommon for legumes.)
It even earned the illustrious distinction of a birthday meal request recently.
And with a warm bacon-Dijon vinaigrette involved, why shouldn't it?
On a plate, shoulder-to-shoulder with greens dressed in walnut oil and accessorized with toasted walnuts and julienned apples, plus maybe a baguette round smeared with goat cheese then gratuitously browned in the oven, it's a far cry from no make-up and sweatpants.
Warm bistro lentil salad
- 1-1/2 cups French green lentils (from le Puy A.O.P.), sorted and rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 clove of garlic, lightly crushed
- salt and freshly-ground pepper
- 6 slices of thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 3 small ribs of celery, finely diced
- squeeze of honey
- 1 Tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. red wine, sherry, or apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
In a medium pot, combine the lentils, the bay leaf, the garlic, and 1 tsp. of salt with at least 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, simmering the lentils until tender but still shapely, about 18-20 minutes. Drain them (discarding the garlic and bay leaf) before depositing them into a medium bowl.
While the lentils cook, render the bacon delicious in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Once crispy, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate and smack your own hand anytime you reach for a piece.
In the bacon's leavings, work the shallot, carrot, and celery into a sweat for about four minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then introduce them to the lentils. Return the scraped out pan to the stove.
Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the honey, the Dijon, the vinegar, the olive oil and another dose of salt and pepper. With the sauté pan set over low heat, warm the vinaigrette for about two minutes. Scatter in the bacon and simmer for another two minutes.
Pour the warm vinaigrette over the lentils and vegetables, folding them all together gently enough so as not to split the lentils' skins, because, well, how unkind.