Warm Lentil and Potato Salad
Warm Lentil and Potato Salad with a Garlicky Mustard Vinaigrette
Adapted from a few David Tanis recipes
If you can find tiny dark green French lentilles de Puy or Italian
lenticcie Castelluccio, you’ll be glad you did; they’re minerally, nutty
and not starchy at all — nothing like your average “for your health!”
lentil mush soup. I tend to grab two bags or boxes whenever I find them,
and keep them in the coolest, darkest place I can find in my
steam-heated sauna of an apartment. I’ve also ordered the French lentils
online before from here,
though I actually brought these inexpensive lentils — and the capers
and olive oil, used here — back from Castroni, the greatest food store
in Rome, last summer.
Before you ask, Can you put kale in this too? Of course you can.
Makes 4 lunch servings, 6 servings as a side dish
2 large shallots, 1 halved, 1 finely diced,
4 sprigs of thyme
1 small bay leaf
1 cup dry small green lentils (see Note up top for varieties)
1 small bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 pound fingerling potatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced or smashed to a paste (I use less)
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of your favorite olive oil
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed if salted, drained if brined, and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cornichons or other sour gherkins, roughly chopped
1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Cook lentils: Pick over and rinse lentils. Place them in a
small/medium saucepan with the halved shallot, thyme branches, bay leaf,
some salt and 4 cups of water. Simmer the lentils over medium heat for
25 to 30 minutes, until firm-tender. Drain (discarding shallot, thyme
and bay leaf) and keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook potatoes: In a separate saucepan, cover
potatoes with 1 to 2 inches cold water. Set timer for 15 minutes, then
bring potatoes to a simmer. When the timer rings, they should be easily
pierced with a toothpick or knife. Drain and keep warm.
Make the dressing: Place the chopped shallot and red wine
vinegar in the bottom of a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk
in minced garlic, dijon, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper
and olive oil. Stir in chopped capers, cornichon and scallions.
Assemble salad: Slice potatoes into 1/2-inch segments and
place in serving bowl. Add lentils, dressing and all but 1 tablespoon
parsley and combine. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if
needed. Scatter salad with remaining parsley.
Serve alone, with a soft-cooked egg on top, or as a side to a larger
roast, chop or sausages. Reheat as needed. If you plan to make this at
the outset of several meals and would like to eat it warm, I’d keep the
dressing separate, warming only the lentils and potatoes and stirring in
the cold dressing to taste.