This warm lentil salad has become a standby thanks in part to one of my most cherished cooking techniques: find a recipe on epicurious and leave out half the ingredients. It’s usually also quite unattractive, but I made a concerted effort to actually cut the vegetables up into smallish pieces. It made a big difference looks-wise, and maybe even taste-wise, too.
Put 3/4 cup French green lentils in a pot of water to cook, for about 20-25 minutes until they are done. While that’s going, fry up some cubed bacon (or lardons on pancetta) – really as much as you want. I’d say 3-4 strips’ worth is a good amount. While that is cooking, chop 2 leeks (up to the pale green only), 2 large carrots and 2 large ribs of celery. Sprinkle some nice dry herbs in there, too. Last time I used herbes de provence.
When the bacon is good and crispy, transfer it to a plate while leaving as much of the fat in the pan as possible. Toss in the leeks, carrots and celery, and cook until they have started to soften up. Pour 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar over the vegetables and stir until the liquid has evaporated – just a minute or two.
Drain the lentils, and stir in the vegetables and lentils. The original recipe called for (among other things) this to be served with a fried egg on top. This is actually surprisingly great, but by no means required to enjoy the meal.