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Recipe for French lentil salad with goat cheese and walnuts

Random House

Serves 6

This classic French dish can be served as a quick vegetarian lunch or as a side dish at a larger meal. Le Puy lentils retain their shape in the salad. Other French green lentils can be used, but not the larger brown or red lentils because they break down and turn mushy. Regardless, always test the lentils before the end of the recommended cooking time. The walnut oil, while not crucial, highlights the earthy flavor of the lentils. The salad can be made up to two days ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving; re-season if necessary.

DRESSING

1tablespoon red wine
vinegar
Salt, to taste
1teaspoon Dijon mustard
cup olive oil
1shallot, finely chopped

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1. In a bowl large enough to hold the cooked lentils, mix the vinegar, salt, and mustard.

2. Whisk in the oil slowly. Stir in the shallots. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like.

SALAD

cups Le Puy lentils, rinsed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1bay leaf
5sprigs thyme
1carrot, cut into small dice
1small red onion, cut into small dice
1rib celery, cut into small dice
1cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
cup chopped fresh parsley
1cup crumbled goat cheese

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1. In a large saucepan, combine the lentils, a large pinch of salt, bay leaf, thyme, and water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes (they will not be cooked through).

2. Add the carrot, onion, and celery. Continue simmering for 5 minutes or until the lentils are tender, but still hold their shape.

3. Drain the lentils, but do not rinse. Add them to the dressing while still warm, stirring to coat. Remove the bay leaf and thyme. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

4. In a skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts, shaking the pan often, for 5 minutes or until they are aromatic; cool and chop coarsely.

5. Add the walnuts to the lentils with the parsley, goat cheese, salt, and pepper. Adapted from “My Paris Kitchen”

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