Warm French Lentil Salad
Recipe type: Main Dish Salad
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup French lentils
- 1 medium head of escarole (about 12 ounces)
- 1 fresh fennel bulb
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or walnut oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
- 1½ teaspoons dried thyme (1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh)
- ¾ cup chopped toasted walnuts
- lemon wedges or a cruet of vinegar
- In a saucepan, bring the lentils, 3 cups of water, and ½ teaspoon of the salt to a simmer.
- Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender but not mushy.
- Meanwhile, rinse, drain, and chop the escarole (about 6 cups).
- To prepare the fennel bulb, remove the outer layers if bruised or soft.
- Cut in half lengthwise, remove the hard core, and thinly slice (about 2 cups).
- In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté the garlic, ground fennel, and thyme for a few seconds.
- Add the fresh fennel and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and stir-fry on high heat for about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the escarole and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until softened but still crisp and bright.
- Remove from the heat and drain any excess liquid into the cooking lentils.
- When the lentils are done, drain them.
- Stir the drained lentils into the escarole mixture.
- Serve the salad warm or at room temperature, topped with the walnuts.
- Decorate with lemon wedges, or offer vinegar at the table.