I’ve loved puy lentils for a long time now, I would often add them into Bolognese sauce, lasagne or moussaka dishes as well as a more traditional French style warm lentil salad. They’re tasty and really versatile little things. I’ve found I’m rather liking Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s take on them at the moment. I’ve played about with my own ingredients a little and found this is a favourite. Of course you can can buy the cheaper ‘lentils verts’ or ‘green lentils’ – the ones that look just the same as puy lentils (small green, with darker green lines on them) but are grown in a different region. The recipe works well precisely because these lentils hold their form and texture well during cooking as well as the nutty flavour. Serve warm or cold the next day. This is a great recipe for throwing into the salad just what is ready in your garden at the time of cooking.
juice of one lemon or good vinegar
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
200g French or green beans
small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced (or equivalent shallots)
1-2 tablespoons of capers or diced tomato
Add lentils and boiling water to a saucepan on high heat and simmer for a minute. Drain lentils and discard the water. Return lentils to the pan with bouillon and water (or stock) to just cover the lentils, bay leaves, garlic and finely chopped stalk of your parsley or coriander. Simmer gently for 25 minutes until just tender ensuring they don’t become dry.
Add the lemon juice, oil, mustard, salt and pepper into a jar and shake vigourously to emulsify. Set to one side to let the flavours develop. Top your beans and leaving whole, or chopping into bitesize bits, add to the lentil water 8 minutes before the end of cooking.
Add your onion to your salad bowl and chopped parsley leaves. Drain the lentils and beans and discard the bay leaves, add to the bowl and stir. Leave to cool for a little, then add your capers and salad dressing, stir and serve.
This is great served with a soft poached duck egg on top as a lunch, or with a green leaf salad. It’s works well as a side to stuffed butternut squash for an evening meal closer to the end of the growing season.
Green Garden Gate Waddesdon