serves 4 (as a starter, in Europe)
- 1 cup lentils (look for small French lentils, it won’t work otherwise, “Le Puy” would be perfect)
- 1 carrot, chopped into (small!) cubes
- 1/2 onion
- 2 cloves
- 1 bay leave
- 1 cinnamon stick
- salt, pepper
for the vinaigrette, and to finish the salad:
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt, pepper, sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped celery stalk
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped tomato flesh (seeds removed)
- (good) vinegar (white wine, white balsamic)
- (olive) oil
In a large enough pot, bring the lentils to simmer with 3 1/2 times their volume of water, carrot, onion, cloves (attached to the onion!), bay leave. Add pepper, generously. DON’T SALT yet. DON’T ADD the cinnamon stick yet. Cook the lentils for 50 minutes, then add: the salt (one teaspoon) and the cinnamon stick. Simmer for another 10 minutes, turn of the heat, let stand and cool.
Prepare the vinaigrette: mix mustard, salt, pepper, sugar with the vinegar. Add oil. Mix totally.
Combine the lentils (cinnamon stick, onion, etc. REMOVED, and at about room temperature) with chopped fresh onion, celery, tomato, add the vinaigrette, mix the whole thing, gently.
That’s it. It’s easy but you’ll see: the cinnamon perfume, the different textures, the whole apparatus will be deeply satisfying. Serve as it is, or add slices of pan-seared duck breast or steak or chicken breast or whatever (duck is best). I assure you: It’s worth it!