I got some nice fennel in my CSA this week, and I have some brown lentils in the pantry that want to be cooked.

Perfect timing, David Lebovitz. I almost didn’t make this because I didn’t have the time to get French green lentils, but I figured I could just use the brown lentils and be vigilant about not overcooking them (I still did a tiiny bit because I was also making a braised pork..).

I followed almost all of David’s directions, and it turned out deliciously! Good olive oil really makes a big difference, like he said. I used olive oil from Rancho Olivos, the olive orchard Tim and I got to visit on our honeymoon!

David says that fennel is optional, but I think it is a must because of how it adds a semi licorice-y, special dimension to an otherwise maybe “ordinary” dish.

French Lentil Salad

French Lentil Salad

adapted slightly from David Lebovitz’s recipe

For the lentils: 
1 1/4 cup (250 gr) French green lentilles du Puy or brown lentils
1 bay leaf
a few sprigs of fresh , dried, or frozen thyme
salt
olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1 fennel bulb, finely diced
freshly ground pepper

For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
a few swigs of good extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, peeled and minced, or half a garlic clove, minced

On the side:
Belgian endive, romaine lettuce, or Bibb lettuce leaves (see below)


1. Rinse the lentils and remove any debris or rocks.

2. Put the lentils in a 1.5 quart pot and cover with a few inches of water. Add the bay leaf and thyme.

3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, add a pinch or two of salt, and simmer
for 15-20 minutes for brown lentils, or 20-25 minutes for green lentils, until the lentils are just tender. After 10 minutes, taste one to see how ‘done’ it tastes, to know how much longer to cook it. Add more water
if necessary. Cook until they are just bite-able; don’t overcook!

4. While the lentils are cooking, heat a little bit of olive oil
in a skillet and add the carrots, onions, and fennel. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tender,and set aside.

5. In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for the vinaigrette.

6. When the lentils are done, remove bay leaf and thyme. Drain them in a colander, then toss them in the
vinaigrette. Add the cooked vegetables. Taste, and season with more salt, pepper, and olive oil if
desired.

This can be eaten warm, room temperature, or cold!


Notes/Substitutions:
-This would also be a good appetizer or finger food. Use Belgian endive, Bibb lettuce, or small romaine lettuce leaves as ‘bowls’. Spoon a bit of the salad onto the leaf.