Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Salad of Lentilles du Puy


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
freshly-ground pepper
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.


Tim said...

This sounds delightful!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Stacey - I've been eating lentil soup since New Year's Day - they are considered a must to eat on that day (for Italians) because they augur prosperity in the year ahead. I can buy those tiny lentils at the health food store nearby. I love the addition of the fennel in your salad. And I love your phonetic description too!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

It took me a while, but I too, found the lentils at Whole Foods. Detox or not, lentils are my favorite!

The Japanese Redneck said...

I wish we had a Whole Foods here. Another pretty dish. Healthy too!

Maria said...

Love this salad. Pretty and great protein!

lisa said...

I have a box of lentilles du puy a friend sent to me from Paris. I've been mulling over recipes to use them. Your salad looks fantastic!

kat said...

We picked up a bag of these at the Ferry Building in SF when we were there for Foodbuzz but haven't used them yet. I'll have to bookmark this recipe to try.

Michele said...

I never had lentils in anything other than soup. I'm curious about this.

Pam said...

This looks like a wonderful and hearty salad Stacey.

Bob said...

Sounds tasty. But I bet the chances of me being able to find them are pretty slim. Heh.

noble pig said...

It looks pretty as well!

Anonymous said...

I'm not even sure where to get lentilles du Puy. There isn't a wholefoods anywhere close to where I live. Still looks like a very pretty dish!

bitchincamero said...

This looks awesome! I love the French lentils. Hooray for lentils in the new year :)

Red lentils are pretty good too, but you have to use them in soup or curry (they're too mushy for salads). If you've got an Indian store near you, they'll have them.

Dana said...

I could eat that every single day. I absolutely love lentils! Try adding chopped walnuts next time - they go so perfectly together.

Eileen @ Passions to Pastry said...

Oh my gosh! Yes, very similar.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Great Detox meals! I was too busy to post my thumbs up on the Cobb Salad. I love lentils, and I learned something new (about A.O.C.). I've been polishing off a bowl of red beans & brown rice and vegetable minestrone soup. I'm starting to crave red meat! But, I'm with you-- I've over the tons of butter, chocolate and rich rich food.
Of course, the week isn't up yet!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Lentil salad and lentil soup are two of our favorites. I'm not sure if I can find the French ones here in Ft. Myers - I know I can't find them at home in the mountains. I'm headed out to search for them at Fresh Market with my fingers crossed.

I like the sherry vinegar in your vinaigrette. Makes such a difference.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I'm snowed in today but I have a bag of those tiny lentils from TJ's. I could use them for this, right?