Warm lentils make a surprisingly satisfying, yet light, lunch. Their earthy flavour is enhanced by the clean, fresh taste of the spring herbs, red onions and plum tomatoes. If possible, make up your own herbal salad to accompany the lentils with roughly ripped sorrel leaves, chervil, flat-leaf parsley and rocket, and mix them into baby red chard, mizuna, curly endive, and so forth. If you have access to a particularly good greengrocer, buy some blanched dandelion leaves.
Warm Puy Lentil Salad
- 225g Puy lentils
- 1 small onion, halved
- Bouquet garni: thyme, parsley, bay leaf
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 2 tablespoons well-matured balsamic vinegar
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ red onion, finely sliced
- 3-4 handfuls mixed young herbs and salad leaves (see above)
- 250g baby plum tomatoes, halved
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pour the lentils onto a plate and check for any tiny stones. Wash thoroughly and put in a saucepan with the onion, bouquet garni and carrot. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, by which time the water should be almost completely absorbed. Remove the onion, bouquet garni and carrot, and tip the lentils into a mixing bowl.
- Quickly whisk together the vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste and add half of the dressing to the warm lentils with the onions. Toss thoroughly. Take 4 large, warm plates and arrange the herb salad and tomatoes in an informal ring on each plate. Spoon the lentil mixture into the middle. Whisk the remaining vinaigrette once more and drizzle over the salad leaves and tomatoes. Serve immediately.