Last week, I had an ill-fated experience while trying to participate in FoodGoat's IMBB Orange Your Hungry event. Since I already had the vinaigrette ready to go, I decided to go back to the correct version of the dish and make it with the French Green Lentils. This recipe comes from Richard Blondin, executive chef at the Refectory restaurant, which I reviewed on Tuesday. They served it a few years ago as a salad; I think it would be great on a hot summer's day with some roasted and chilled lamb chops, I'll have to try that if summer ever comes. If you make this salad (and you should), you might want to make it a day ahead and refrigerate, to let the flavors blend. I just realized that this might be the only thing I will make and post about that is vegan. Not that I have anything against vegans, of course, I just really like butter. And cheese. And bacon...
This recipe can be found in Richard's The Hunter's Table Cookbook, which has a lovely picture of duck breast, sliced into many medallions, on the front. Alas, my Amazon link does not include a picture. The recipe follows in the extended post.
Chef Richard Blondin's Green Lentil and Apple Salad in Curry Vinaigrette
1 1/2 cups dried French green lentils
1 medium white onion, cut in half - mince one half, and leave the other in tact
3 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
3 TBSP Dijon mustard
2 TBSP Cider vinegar
5 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 TBSP canola oil
2 tsp curry powder (I like to use a little more - about a TBSP)
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled, and diced
2 shallots, minced
2 TBSP chopped flatleaf parsley (I don't use the parsley; I think it interferes with the texture, but that is totally personal)
Make your vinaigrette: Combine the oils, mustard, cider vinegar and curry powder in a bowl and whisk to emulsify. I like to put this in the fridge for a day or so to allow the oil to absorb the curry. I might be crazy, but I think it helps the powder feeling you sometimes get from curry powder.
In a large pot, place 5 cups of water, the lentils, bay leaves, and the in-tact onion half, studded with the cloves. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the lentils are tender but still a little toothsome, 20-25 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, removing the onion and bay leaf.
In a large bowl, combine the apple, onion and shallot and add the lentils, folding to combine. Add the vinaigrette and fold gently until everything is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.