When I have friends over who honor Lent by avoiding meat, I strive to make sure they leave just as full as every beef-eating guest has before them. To do this, I pack in the protein and fiber and make perfectly cooked vegetables a little more sultry by using herbs and butter.
Leaving meat behind doesn’t always mean losing flavor. If vegetables and legumes are cooked to their perfect texture and doneness (i.e. not overcooked), when they show off all their best qualities, meat can take a backseat to the season’s bounty. Embracing the herb and onion and shallot families as flavor boosters also makes a meatless meal more satisfying.
I use lentils du puy in this recipe because, unlike many standard brown or yellow lentils, they hold their texture well, and take on an earthy meatiness once cooked. Same goes for black beluga lentils. When I’m feeling like having some extra richness in my dish (which pretty much all the time) or want to make this salad for an entrée, I like to add an ounce or two of Blue Cheese to the salad.
Lentil Frisée Salad and Warm Butter Vinaigrette
1 1/2 cup lentils du puy
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons vinegar
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup shallots, minced
4 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
2 large heads frisee lettuce, trimmed
1 carrot, peeled into strips
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pierce the onion half with the cloves. Bring lentils, bay leaf, and studded onion to a boil with 4 cups of water in a medium sized saucepan. Lower to a simmer and cook for ten to fifteen minutes, until lentils are softened, but still lightly al dente. Let sit for 5 minutes. Drain, and return to the pan. Add the vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and stir.
While lentils are cooking, put the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat and cover the pan. Set a timer for eleven minutes. After eleven minutes, uncover the pan, drain the hot water from the eggs, and fill the pan with cool water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. Peel and cut in half when cool.
Heat the butter and shallots on low in a small saucepan for two minutes. Take off heat. Add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and half the parsley to make your vinaigrette. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
Put the frisee and carrot strips in a large mixing bowl. Add 1/3 of the vinaigrette, salt to taste, and mix well. Divide onto six plates. Mix 1/3 of the vinaigrette and the remaining lemon juice and parsley into the lentils. Divide onto the plates next to the frisee. Top the lentils with the two egg halves and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette onto the plates.
lent, lentils, meatless, salad
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