Lentils are not on everyone’s list of food favorites. Some people refuse to eat lentils and associate them with those dated health staples of the macrobiotic age; brown rice being another one. Others, however, (me included) absolutely adore their nutty taste and versatility.
Though there are many varieties, I am quite partial to Puy lentils. They hold their shape quite well after cooking and are more suitable for salads — and as you know, I love my salads!
In the following recipe, I pair Puy lentils with the zingy flavors of Dijon mustard, semi-sundried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and generous amounts of garlic. The result is a salad that will leave even the most die-hard lentil haters licking their plate. Don’t believe me? Make the recipe and let me know what you think!
- 250g Puy lentils (rinsed)
- 1 bouquet garni
- 1/2 onion, peeled and left whole
- 4 tbsps good quality olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
- fleur de sel
- freshly-ground pepper
- 125g cured ham of your choice
- 100g (or more, to taste) semi-sundried tomatoes, chopped
- small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
- 125g mozzarella, in small chunks
Bring the lentils to the boil with the bouquet garni and the onion. Reduce the heat and cook covered for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender but not soft. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic and salt and pepper. Carefully remove the bouquet garni and the onion from the lentils, drain them and allow to cool slightly. Stir the lentils to the dressing. Chop most of the ham (I usually roll up the slices and use scissors!) and add to the lentils. Also add in most of the tomatoes and all of the parsley. Stir gently to combine. Serve the salad and garnish with the rest of the ham, tomatoes and the mozzarella. Delicious with peppery greens, such as watercress, seen here.