1/2 pound lentils, preferably from Abruzzi, rinsed and picked over
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1/2 dried red chile
1/2 pound green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 large celery rib, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
24 small thin slices crusty country bread
1 small fresh red chile, very thinly sliced lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium saucepan, generously cover the lentils with water. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf and dried chile and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the lentils, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid; discard the bay leaf and chile.
In a medium bowl, mash 1 cup of the lentils with a potato masher, then stir in the remaining lentils. Add the olives, celery, shallot, 1/4 cup of olive oil and the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the reserved 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.
Arrange the bread slices on a cookie sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until thoroughly crisp. Drizzle the crostini with olive oil and generously spoon the lentil salad on top. Garnish the crostini with slivers of red chile and serve.