When my book club and a friend's book club met earlier this week to discuss The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan, the conversation was lively but the food -- oh my -- the food was fabulous. I'm still prying the recipes from the group but here's the first of what I hope are several great recipes, ones I just know that readers here will find appealing.
This is a simple lentil salad that's just perfect for fall, especially since it's laced with autumn-ish herbs, thyme and sage.
Lentils are typically just a mess of brown-ness, but this salad lends itself to simple but dramatic garnishing, just using wedges of perfect hard-boiled eggs and, if you have some, cherry tomato halves. At this week's potluck, the lentils were placed in a leaf-shaped bowl lined with the tomatoes, with slices of egg arranged in the center, a big sprig of thyme emerging from the base -- very pretty!
LENTILS FOR KIDS My favorite neighbor friend, age 8, popped in for a taste test. She loved the lentils!
JULIA CHILD'S LENTIL SALAD
Time to table: 1 hour (or more if lentils are soaked before cooking and/or served at room temperature or cold, see NOTES)
Makes 3 cups
6 cups water
1-1/2 cups lentils, rinsed (see NOTES)
THYME, SAGE & GARLIC VINAIGRETTE
2 large cloves garlic, smashed and skins removed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon good mustard (a prepared mustard such as Dijon)
2 tablespoons or so of fresh herbs, I used thyme and sage from my garden
1/2 cup good olive oil
Bring water to a boil in a large kettle. Add lentils and cook until done, testing after 20 minutes or so. Drain (see NOTES).
While lentils cook, mix the vinaigrette ingredients in the food processor cup of an immersion blender.
Salt & pepper to taste
Stir the vinaigrette into the (drained) hot lentils, stirring well to coat. Season to taste. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.
Julia Child's recipe and my friend both used just regular brown lentils. Julia's instructions suggest soaking the lentils for an hour before cooking. I used black lentils from Trader Joe's, whose label specifically mentioned that there is no necessity to soak the lentils, so I didn't.
Julia suggests saving the cooking liquid for using in soups -- so I have, it's in the fridge, awaiting the next batch of soup.
UPDATE: A reader who made the salad suggests adding salt to the cooking water. I don't, since I've read that this makes the lentils tough. Since I've not done side-by-side tests, I'll leave other readers to make their own calls!
~ Summer Lentils ~
~ Oven-Cooked Lentil Soup ~
~ Veggie Burritos with Cilantro Sauce ~
~ Two-Way Lentil Skillet from Kitchen Parade ~
~ Lentil Soup Vincent from Kitchen Parade ~
~ more recipes with lentils, beans & legumes ~
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