I think I ate lentils almost everyday when in Paris.
Not the brown lentils from my grandmother's lentil soup, but lentilles du Puy, the tiny green French lentils from the Auvergne.
David Lebovitz calls them "cheap caviar".
They even sound pretty when you say them: pronounced "Lontee du Pwee".
I was disappointed that I couldn't find them here in New Jersey, living so close to Manhattan, so I ordered them by mail instead. (I have since found them at Whole Foods).
Make sure they have an A.O.C. label on them, so you know they are the real deal.
When the little green beauties arrived, I decided to try and recreate that delicious salad I ate in Paris almost daily.
It came very close. A taste of Paris in New Jersey. Go figure.
This was a perfect lunch for my detox week of salads and healthy eating.
Salade Lentilles du Puy: (adapted from David Lebovitz)
For the lentils:
1¼ cup (250 gr) French green lentilles du Puy
1 bay leaf
a few springs of fresh thyme
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1 bulb of fennel, finely diced
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) 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 leaf 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 or in a microwave.