Green-Lentil Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Wine bar owner-chef William Abitbol prepares a warm green-lentil salad in the style of risotto, sautéing the legumes with bacon, then stirring in chicken stock slowly and steadily until they are tender and dressing them with a tasty hazelnut vinaigrette. This simpler but still delicious version calls for simmering the lentils in stock.

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  • Servings: 6

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  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 thick slices of bacon, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick sticks
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils (10 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

How to make this recipe

  1. Wrap the black peppercorns, parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, cloves and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie the cheesecloth securely with string.

  2. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain off all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add the diced carrot and onion and the minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the herb bundle, chicken stock and green lentils and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the lentils, transfer them to a large bowl and discard the herb bundle; keep warm.

  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the hazelnut oil with the sherry vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Pour the hazelnut vinaigrette over the lentils and add the shallot. Toss the salad until the lentils are evenly coated. Serve the lentil salad warm.

Make Ahead

The green-lentil salad can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 day. Let the salad return to room temperature, or rewarm gently before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Although it's next to impossible to find the Provençal rosé that Abitbol pours, most wine stores do stock a number of other terrific Provençal rosés, and their freshness and vibrant acidity are wonderful with this earthy, nutty lentil salad. Try the cherry-scented Commanderie de la Bargemone or the silky Domaine Houchart.

Contributed By Published October 2008

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