Little Bit Of Lentils

First up for our Taste and See Thursday series is a salad that sounded so delightful I knew it needed to be tried. It’s the “Lentilles du Puy avec un fromage de chèvre, betteraves et one vinaigrette d’aneth” from The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. Sounds fancy but it’s just little french lentils with beets and goat’s cheese drizzled with a dill vinaigrette. I also knew for my family we were going to want to make it a nice simple main course, and so to add a little more oomph to it, we’ll be modifying the recipe to use a mustard covered salmon to it as well.

First you want to make the mustard crusted salmon. This is super easy. For every salmon filet you’re using (so, modify it to how many you are serving), you’ll need:

• 1 Tbsp olive oil or sunflower oil

• 1 tsp dijon mustard

• 1 Tbsp of yellow mustard seed

You’ll want to use salmon (if you can find it) that has been de-scaled but still has the scrumptious skin on. Then you simply make a few diagonal scores on the skin side and rub in the dijon mustard. The mustard seed goes onto a plate, and you will press the mustard side of the salmon into it, forming the mustard crust. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Then place the salmon crust side down into the pan and allow it to cook for 4-6 minutes, until the crust is nice and golden and crisp. Then at this point you want to determine how cooked you want your salmon. If it’s mostly cooked through and you want to keep it that way, pull it then and allow it to cool. If you like it more done, flip the salmon, and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes. Once cooked, set aside the salmon to cool (you can even put it in the fridge if you want to do this part ahead of time). Then we’ll move onto the salad portion.

Lentilles du Puy Avec un Fromage de Chèvre, Betteraves et une Vinaigrette D’aneth

(This makes 4 main course servings*)

Puy lentils tend to remain more firm than other lentils, but plain green lentils would work okay, just plan to check them often. You don’t want squishy lentils for your meal.

• 400 g (or 2 cups) puy lentils

• 2 bay leaf

• a couple sprigs of fresh thyme

• 2-3 cooked beetroot, peeled (I like to roast them, but you can also buy precooked beetroot from the store!)

• 400 g (approx 14 ounces) goat’s cheese (the soft kind from a log)

• extra virgin olive oil

First, rinse the lentils in a colander under cold water. Then into a pot they go (choose one that is large enough to cover them with the same volume of water as they take up), add in the bay leaves and thyme and sprinkle in a generous pinch of salt. Put them on over medium-high heat and bring to a rapid simmer, then turn down to a gentle simmer (where you see small bubbles and gentle movement). Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until tender but not mushy.

Make the vinaigrette (recipe below) while they are cooking. This is also when you’ll want to thinly slice the beetroot. You can use a mandoline if you have one, but I don’t, I just use a sharp knife and a steady hand. Set the thinly sliced beetroot aside until it’s time to assemble your meal.

Once the lentils are done, drain them in the colander and throw out the bay leaf and thyme.

To assemble you can either plate individually (dividing the lentils, beets, and goat’s cheese up evenly) or you can plate on a platter as I’ve done. I spread out the lentils, then placed the beetroot slices around on top of the lentils. Next, crumble the goat cheese (I like large crumbles for visual appeal) over the lentils and beetroot. Then I took my cooled salmon filets and placed them across the top. Drizzle the vinaigrette atop the whole thing. Maybe drizzle a little bit more olive oil. Season with some nice sea salt (I love my grey sea salt for this) and freshly ground pepper. Ready to place on the table and wait for the oohs and aahs.

Dill Vinaigrette

• 1 bunch of dill

• 4 tablespoons of either olive oil or sunflower oil (keeping in mind that olive oil has a bit stronger of flavor)

• 4 tablespoons of a white wine vinegar

• 1 tsp of sea salt

• generous pinch of sugar

Throw all of these ingredients into a blender/food processor and blend until smooth. Alternatively if you do not have any electric blender, finely mince up the dill and then whisk all the ingredients together.

* Four adult servings works for my family of 5 very well as E eats a normal portion, but the twins usually eat half of an adult portion.

This was delicious and such a nice change from all of the winter soups we’ve been having.  I hope that you’ll be tempted to try it (it would also work well with a mustard chicken if you don’t love salmon or on it’s own without a meat). If you do, please come tell me what you think!

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