Salad of Lentilles du Puy
About 6 servings
I like this lentil salad best when the diced carrots, onions and fennel are sautéed in olive oil until just-tender, then mixed into the warm lentils along with the vinaigrette. The fennel isn’t necessary (well, neither are shoes) but it’s quite nice if you like it. You can also simmer the vegetables along with the lentils if you want to save a step but be sure to add them to the vinaigrette while warm, which helps them absorb the dressing.Be sure to use very good olive oil for the vinaigrette: yes, it does make a difference! No cheating. I use Spanish arbequina oil that’s fruity and really quite delicious. Since les lentilles du Puy lend themselves to so many variations, I’ve included a few at then end of the recipe to encourage improvisation.
For the lentils:
1 1/4 cup (250g) French green lentilles du Puy
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 or in a microwave.