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DawnMO, I found a recipe worthy of your French green lentils: Green Lentil Salad with Bacon and Ham

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Joined: Dec 14, 2005


Posted to Thread #11852 at 3:02 pm on Aug 31, 2008

It was just about the best lentil dish I have ever had.

from <i>L'ambassade d'Auvergne</i> in Paris, printed in the RSVP section of Bon Appetit, September 2008.

The lentils are cooked in bacon drippings, then the bacon and mustard vinaigrette are added, making this a very hearty fall salad.

2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup hazelnut oil (I used olive oil with a little walnut oil)
Salt and pepper
1 lb. French green lentils, rinsed
4 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch wide strips
1 cup chopped onion, plus 3 Tbs. finely minced onion
3/4 cup (4 oz.) chopped ham (I used about 1/2 cup chopped leftover prosciutto)
2 large fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (I used regular)

Whisk vinegar and mustard in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper

Place lentils in large saucepan. Add cold water to cover by two inches. Bring to a boil; drain.

Cook bacon in the same pan until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings and return pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 cup chopped onion and ham. Cook until onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and drained lentils; stir to coat. Add 4 cups water, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, cover with lid ajar, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain if necessary; return lentils to pan.

Add mustard dressing, bacon, and parsley; toss to coat. Season lentil salad with salt and pepper.

(Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature).

Spoon warm or room-temperature lentil salad onto platter. Sprinkle 3 Tbs. finely chopped onion over and serve.

[Notes: It's quite a stretch to call this a salad! Even though most of the bacon fat is drained off, it is still very rich and hearty. I was going to saute zucchini to go with it but changed to a green salad with red bell pepper and cucumber.

The flavors are wonderful. My lentils took longer to cook than stated, but they did get tender by the time they absorbed all their liquid. It would have been a shame to drain them. Dawn had kindly sent me the French green lentils. I don't think regular brown lentils would have held up so well, but they would be worth a try.]

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