On Saturday night, we decided to stay in and cook dinner. Dylan was at a sleepover, so it was just me and the two guys. We had some prime ribeye steaks from Costco, so we knew that would be the focus, but it was up to me to come up with a side dish. My first instinct was some sort of potato dish. Unfortunately, when I checked our potato supplies, I realized that we only had one pound of potatoes which wouldn't be enough. It was time to get creative.
When Michael and I went to Paris last month, I spent an hour in G. Detou, one of the world's most amazing grocery stores. One of the treats I came home with was a tin of French de Puy lentils:
Lentil de Puy are a great treat if you've never tried them (and you don't need to buy them in Paris - they are available at many specialty grocery stores in the U.S. - I have even purchased them at Whole Foods). They keep their shape and texture when cooked. Typical lentils get soft and mushy, which is great when you are making a soup and stew, but not ideal when you want the lentils for a salad.
So, back to my story. I had one pound of potatoes and I had the lovely tin of lentils. I decided to combine a couple of recipes from The New York Times Cookbook; a Mediterranean lentil salad and a French potato salad. French potato salads are served slightly warm or at room temperature and are made with olive oil instead of mayonnaise. They are much more suited to cold weather than the standard mayo-based varieties.
The salad was easy to prepare and delicious. I hope you love it as much as we did!
Lentil Potato Salad
1/2 cup de Puy lentils
1 pound new (red) potatoes, scrubbed and cut into a 1/4 inch dice
1 Tb onion, finely minced
Vinaigrette of your choice (I used this one)
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
salt and pepper to taste
Combine lentils with three cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 - 20 minutes (you want them tender but not mushy). Drain and set aside.
Cover potatoes with cold water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. Toss with the minced onion and a few splashes of vinaigrette. Allow the vinaigrette to soak in a bit. Taste. If there is no flavor, add some more (the potatoes soak up quite a bit - by dressing them while they are warm, you insure great flavor).
Add the carrots and celery and lentils. Toss with more vinaigrette and the salt and pepper, tasting as you go. This is a very flexible recipe - you will want to play around with it until it is seasoned to your tastes.