Saturday, February 02, 2008

Warm French Lentil Salad with Cognac

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
I love lentils and I think they make a great warm and hearty winter salad. Here is a lovely recipe from Paula Wolfert where the lentils are flavored with Cognac and served over Arugula. Add a grilled duck breast and it's heaven!

1/2 pound Puy lentils
1/4 cup Cognac
2 tablespoons aged Sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Dijon
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons walnut oil
1 small onion halved and separated into leaves
1/4 pound sliced bacon or sausage, diced
3 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 pound wild arugula

Pick over and wash the lentils. Put them in a sauce pan, cover with water and bring them slowly to a full boil. Drain. Cover them again with 1 quart water and bring them back to a boil and skim off stuff which floats to the top of the water. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the Cognac and cook for 10 minutes more, till lentils are tender. Drain immediately and place in bowl.

Make the vinaigrette by combining vinegar, mustard , salt, and oil. Use a whisk or the blender to get a nice emulsion. Pour half this mixture over the lentils, add large onion pieces, and let them cool in mixture at room temperature for several hours stirring occasionally. Just before serving, remove onions and fry up diced bacon or sausage in a sauté pan. Discard the fat and add the lentils to the pan and heat through for a few minutes till warm. Stir in parsley and most of the remaining vinaigrette. Adjust salt and pepper and serve over Arugula or a green of your choice.