I have to say that, thanks to Dorie, I’m now just a little addicted to French lentils. I feel quite virtuous, because they are so good for you too – a “super food” even. So while this is the first time I’ve made this exact recipe, it’s not actually the very first attempt at something like it. I’m still not sure that I really love the combination, but I’m guessing that like the lentils themselves, this will grow on me.
We’ve made these lentils before, so it’s really no different. We will, however, get to use preserved lemons for this recipe! I ended up buying a jar of chopped preserved meyer lemon. I couldn’t imagine that some other variety would be better – though I am a preserved lemon novice, so I could be wrong.
Once the lentils are cooked and drained (I didn’t use the optional cognac), the warm lentils are stirred together with a quick vinaigrette that includes some grainy mustard, vinegar and olive oil. The dressing also includes a black olive tapenade – I was given a jar of amazing-looking stuff, so couldn’t resist using it here (and now that it’s open, I guess I have to finish it!). That’s initially tossed with the lentils, then a sliced green onion and some preserved lemon are added (I made a half-recipe).
The unfortunate thing about the French lentils (or lentils du Puy), is that while they are tasty, they are not particularly pretty. So the final presentation, once the tuna is added and the whole salad is seasoned with salt and pepper, isn’t all that beautiful. I’m afraid, this is destined to be lunch at work, and not a beautifully composed one. I’m sure others will take Dorie’s suggestion and serve this with a tomato and pepper salad, which would surely make this a bit prettier on a plate. But for me, I’ll have to be content with a homely, virtuous salad that’s delicious. It seems that there should be a lesson there…