Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Her wish is my command: Lentilles de Puy Salad

I quick snapshot in the early morning light.*

Leslie, the hostess of the humble bungalow liked the lentil salad and asked me if I could post the recipe. Nothing I like more!

Lentils are versatile. You could add any flavour you like, crispy bacon, duckbreast, sausages or keep it vegetarian or even vegan like I did:

Lentilles de Puy Salad
  • cooked, cool lentils (I did not measure, probably 250ml before cooking)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • Olive Oil (approx. 2.5 tbsp, sorry I did not measure)
  • Thym, only the leaves, chopped
  • 1 Radicchio salad, also known as red endive, cut into small bits
  • 1 or two Spring onions, depending in the size, chopped
  • One hand full of Parsley, chopped

  • Salt (my choice: Fleur de sel)
  • Pepper (my choice: freshly grounded in the peugeot moulin)
  • freshly grated Ginger
  • Garlic (2 cloves of garlic are too much, trust me! One is just right, none is also ok)
  • And finally the super-secret winning spice: soy sauce.
Did you notice? There is no vinegar!
Lemons provide the acid and are the perfect match for the lentils.

First I like to explain the characteristics of the lentils from Puy.
Those lentils are much smaller than the normal lentils. They are also rounder, not so flat. You would not have to soak them in cold water over night or over day (depending on when you plan to cook them). I still do, I soak them in cold water for a few hours, mainly because I want all the extra that comes with the lentilles to swim on top so I can easily remove it before boiling the lentils.
Bits and pieces of straw, bad lentils (well, they are not really bad bud those which float on top after a short time of soaking are said to be not so good anymore), some flys etc.
Also after a long storage, they need longer too cook. The soaking saves energy.

After soaking comes the cooking. And this is the good part: the lentils take maximum 20 min., no longer! When they are done, they are "aldente", not to confuse with the soft squishy lentils you would serve in the winter months, these lentils "have punch" in the sense of aldente. You might think they are still not done, when you try them after 20min but trust me: they are ready to cool down!

It is a myth that you must not add salt to the boiling water, otherwise they end up hard. This is a myth. Lentils need salt and the salt does not harm the boiling. What does harm the process though is overly boiling. The proteins in the lentils would alter and the lentils might stay hard. So be careful and let the water "simmer", in sense of a soft boiling and not bubbly overly boiling with wild dancing lentils.

After 20 min you drain the water and let them cool down.

On with the salad recipe:
Pour the lemon juice in a bowl and slowly whisk the olive oil (of best quality of course ;-) into the bowl. Add the spices except the soy sauce and mix everything well. The soy sauce is tricky: Start off with 1 tsp and add if more is needed. Too much of the soy sauce kills the flavours. You better stick your finger in the bowl after the 1st tsp of soy sauce, taste it and decide if it needs more.
When we prepared the salad in the cooking-workshop, something was missing, but we could not guess what it was. Until one participant suggested soy sauce. It is amazing, what a difference a bit of soy sauce can make!

Place the cool lentils, radicchio, parsley and thym in a bowl, stir everything and pour the dressing on top. Gently mix, et voila.

You can easily keep this in the fridge for 2 days, even 3, depending on the freshness of the radicchio.

* The "still life" qualities of the morning sunlight surprise me. Should take more photos before 8am.


  1. This looks delicious! I love a lentil salad and will be trying this recipe soon.

  2. Thank you for sharing the recipe and details with us. That type of lentil is hard to find around here. I will have to try some other markets to see if I can get my hands on a bag! xo, A

  3. Chère femme, like this you can keep up the french gusto!

    Adrienne, maybe Beluga lentils are an easier find? They are also small, even smaller than the Puy-lentils and black. Quite sofisticated appearance. Thank you for the complient. I love all kinds of sharing.

  4. Thank you so much!
    I am off to the shops to find some French lentils...