Warm French Lentil Salad with Carrots and Arugula Recipe – Postcards from Paris
Every morning in Paris we set off to our makeshift studio in the 6th arrondissement by strolling down boulevards lined with budding chestnut trees glowing in the bright spring sun as sidewalks were being freshly scrubbed and shopkeepers were setting out their wares. This walk to work put smiles on our faces every single morning. We realized how lucky we were to be working in Paris! Sometimes I just wanted to pinch myself to make sure it was real. Luckily, work was finished by late afternoon and we got a chance to meander the streets doing what we love…taking pictures and eating! Along the way, we popped into shops, bistros and cafes.
Down a curving street with a romantic name, Rue de Reine (street of the queen) was a restaurant that we kept returning to, Fish La Boissonierie. Fish is a friendly, neighborhood place owned by Drew Harré and Juan Sanchez who opened the famous and original Cosi, which is across the street.
During our visits, Jeff and I ordered several different entrees, but Dana always ordered the same thing because she loved it so..the French lentil salad. That salad inspired what you see here. I never did get the recipe, but I tasted it and I (hopefully) replicated it here. I’ve found that quite a lot of French cooking is about letting the simple, subtle flavor of great ingredients shine through without a lot of pretense. I think that’s why this salad was so perfect as an entree for Dana.
She would just have this salad with slice after slice of their warm hearth baked bread, fresh from the stone ovens across the street at Cosi. You could serve this as a light entree, or as a starter salad. Now that the days are longer and the temperature is rising, it might be what you’d like to serve on the porch in the spring for Sunday supper for your family and friends.
If possible, make this salad using French green lentils, also called Lentilles du Puy. They cost a bit more, but I love their nutty, peppery taste. I also make sure to soak my lentils for a couple of hours then rinse them thoroughly. I find that this seems to eliminate any stomach distress that sometimes occurs with legumes.
Update: Tonight I made this and topped the entree portion with roasted tarragon chicken…drizzled the vinaigrette over the whole thing…dinner in a dish!
Make it special make it Sunday!
Warm, French Lentil Salad with Carrots and Arugula
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 - 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
A simple salad that can serve as an entree or side salad.
4 ounces French lentils
1 cup water
4 average carrots
12 - 16 stems of arugula
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Please note: This recipe is for a side salad. If you want to serve this as an entree, please double the recipe.
Carefully sort through the lentils to make sure that there are no pebbles or bits that need to be removed. Rinse, then cover lentils with an inch of water and let soak for 2 - 4 hours. Rinse again.
Add water and slowly simmer lentils till they are tender, but not mushy (about 15 - 20 minutes). Most of the water should be absorbed by the lentils, if not, drain them and put them in a bowl. Please note: Do not add salt while they are cooking because it tends to toughen the lentils.
While the lentils are simmering, make the vinaigrette. In a bowl, whisk the Dijon mustard and lemon juice together and slowly whisk in olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste.
Wash and trim carrots, then slice. (I used a mandoline to get these long narrow strips, but if you don't have a mandoline, you can cut them in thin slices with a vegetable peeler). Put the carrots in a bowl filled with cold water to keep them fresh. Wash and dry arugula.
Toss the lentils with 1/2 of the vinaigrette and spoon them onto 4 plates. Top with the carrots (that have been drained) and arugula. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over each of the salads. I like to serve this salad with the lentils warm or at room temperature.