Lentils vinaigrette! They are super easy and super delicious. These lentils catapult past the typical earthy-muddy poorly cooked standard and straight into massive flavor and perfect texture. On top of that, they're cheap, easy, and vegan. You want these lentils.
To make lentils vinaigrette, you simmer Puy lentils in a court bouillon--that is, in water with a selection of aromatic herbs and vegetables. When they're tender, you drain them, let them cool, remove all the seasoning elements, and dress them in a dijon mustard vinaigrette. That's all. It is one of the easiest things ever, and for an amazing reward.
It's best to use Puy lentils for this particular salad, as they hold together appropriately, have an excellent mouthfeel, and just taste better than ordinary green lentils. You can generally find them in the bulk bins and natural and higher-end food stores. I do think it would be worth a shot even if you can only find regular green lentils, however.
We follow Thomas Keller's classic lentils vinaigrette recipe from the Bouchon cookbook. This is well worth a look for things other than lentils, incidentally. The book itself is a gigantic coffee table tome with huge glossy picture spreads, but the recipes are classic French bistro. If you want to get better at cooking bistro fare, you could do far worse than to try them out.
Lentils vinaigrette are good by themselves, but they really shine when served with a collection of vegetables and garnishes. I like to use them as a whack of protein to top a green salad, for a super easy & complete lunch. They are definitely great as I last had them, with a chopped hard-boiled egg, a little pepper, and a handful of torn parsley and minced red onion.
Other things to eat with lentils vinaigrette:
- shredded carrot in lemon juice.
- crispy fried onion bits.
- a big spoonful of plain yogurt.
- tomato-cucumber salad, or just finely chopped cucumber.
- In fact, if you combine the yogurt and cucumber, you can top your lentils with raita or tzatziki. I think I may try this one in the near future.
In conclusion, hooray lentils! Eat them tonight!