More in the Way of Beans

And, when last we left our intrepid heroine, she was sucking down a large bowl of lima beans. Today, you can find me Hoovering lentils. Apparently, I am bean and/or fiber obsessed.

I am a Johnny-come-lately to the magic of lentils. For years, they were just those things that swim around making soup mushy. Then, I went to Spain and had lunch with my friend’s host family. As we walked through the plaza toward their apartment, she said, “Don’t freak out. But, we’re going to have lentejas and squid in black ink sauce.”

Not to sound like a boor, I asked, “What are lentejas?” My friend looked confused. “Lentejas. You know, lentejas!” I didn’t want to point out that she was just repeating the same word over and over. Perhaps, I thought, she is so fluent in Spanish she doesn’t really know when she’s not speaking it. Needless to say, when lunch was served, I looked at my bowl and across the table to her. “Lentils. They’re lentils.” I guess she didn’t eat too many of them back home either.

But, thanks to my Frenchy style culinary school, I have a pretty great recipe for cold lentil salad. (It also tastes good warm.) What follows is my modified version. If you’re veg-friendly, just sauté with olive oil instead of the bacon.

Lentil Salad

  • 8 oz green puy lentils
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 oz bacon
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 oz red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Place the lentils in cold water and cook for 20 minutes with salt, thyme, and bay leaf.

In a large sauté pan, heat bacon until crispy. Remove from pan, and when cool crumble. While bacon fat is still hot, add shallot and sauté until browned.

Remove thyme and bay leaf from lentils and drain any remaining water from the pan. Add lentils to shallots. (You can use pre-cooked, frozen lentils as well. Just add them frozen to the pan once the shallots are brown.) Stir and remove from heat.

Once the lentils are cooled, add the bacon, then toss with olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Results

I would eat this every day if I could. Well, I’m a grown-up so I can, but maybe it’s not that wise to eat all these beans. People might not want to be around me so much.

Lentils

The recipe keeps well in the fridge and tastes delish cold, so make scads of it… then, you’ll never be without lentils.

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