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Lentil Salad with Herbs and Fennel
(recipe, Matthew Card)
While this salad can be served on its own or as accompaniment to grilled chicken or seafood, it also serves as a base for all manner of additional ingredients — sliced radishes, tomatoes, feta cheese, walnuts, pickled onions, etc. The salad should be tasted before serving and adjusted for salt and acidity, which will mellow as the salad sits.
- 3 qt. water
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ onion, peeled but intact
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups du Puy (French) lentils
- 2 Tbsp. white-wine vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Large pinch of sugar
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme or savory
- ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 large fennel bulb, diced
- Combine the water, garlic, bay leaves, onion, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the lentils, return to a simmer, and reduce the heat to medium, or just enough to maintain a slow but steady simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Drain, discard the onion and bay leaves, transfer the garlic cloves to a small bowl, and spread the lentils onto a baking sheet to cool.
- With a fork, mash the garlic cloves to a paste. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar and whisk together; whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled lentils, thyme, parsley, and fennel. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the lentils and fold the mixture with a large rubber spatula until well blended. Adjust the seasoning to taste (the lentils should taste fairly salty; the seasonings will mellow as the salad sits).
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For more great recipes and tips, read Matthew Card's feature on fresh summer cooking.