Monday, March 22, 2010

French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese and Fontaine de Vaucluse in Provence


When we were in Provence, I stuffed my suitcase with souvenirs of our market finds to bring home – golden olive wood spoons, small rustic burlap bags of herbs de Provence and the grainy French finishing salt fleur de sel, dried lavender sachets in colorful Provencal print fabrics for my lingerie drawers, fat square olive oil soaps stamped with savons de Marseilles, bags of nutty brown rice harvested in the Camargue, a bottle of carefully wrapped truffle oil, and several boxes of the tiny French green lentils lentilles du Puy.

We’ve long since consumed the nutty tasting French lentils and I hadn’t thought of them in a while until I saw a recipe for Salade of Lentilles du Puy on Stacey’s Snacks. Stacey blogs daily and has some wonderful recipes. If you’re not familiar with her blog, you’re missing some great food and I highly recommend her site.


Today the photographs in this post are from Fontaine de Valcluse, 7km east of L’Isle sur la Sorgue in France. It is very popular tourist destination, so if you go, I recommend you go early in the day.


Stacey adapted her lentil salad from David Libovitz, food authority and celebrated author who currently resides in Paris and also has a fantastic blog. David refers to lentilles du puy as “cheap caviar.” They are from the Auvergne area and David insists when you purchase them, be sure they’re labeled A.O.C. so you don’t buy the ordinary French green lentils. If you’re not lucky enough to live in Paris where David buys his lentils at La Graineterie du Marche, Amazon sells them on line.


When I made it the first time, I didn’t think it had enough of either one so I added more carrots and red onion than the original recipe called for. Perhaps my carrots were smaller, I don’t know. I also used dried thyme.


If you can find sherry vinegar, I think it makes all the difference in the dish. I usually get it at Fresh Market, but you can also buy it on line at Sur la Table. I like the Columela 30-year Reserva Sherry Vinegar, that’s been aged in oak barrels for 30 years (just like wine). Sherry vinegar can also be used in vinaigrette with nut oil for a change of pace from a red wine vinaigrette. Here’s my recipe.


French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese
Salade of Lentilles du Puy
Adapted from David Libovitz via Stacey’s Snacks

1 ¼ cups lentils, preferably French Lentiles du Puy
1 dried bay leaf
Kosher salt
Best quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 large carrot or two small, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon dried thyme
4 or 5 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, peeled and minced
Crumbled goat cheese

Rinse the lentils well and remove any stones. Transfer the lentils to a large saucepan and cover with lots of water, at least 3-4 inches. Add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, add a bit of salt, and simmer for 15-25 minutes, until the lentils are just tender, adding more water if necessary. I suggest testing them after 15 minutes and if they aren’t done, continue to taste every five minutes until they are still a little crunchy but taste done. Do not to overcook them or they will become mushy when you dress them.

While the lentils are cooking, heat a few spoonfuls of olive oil in a skillet and add the carrots and onions. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender. Set aside and remove the bay leaf.

In a small jar with a tight fitting lid, make a vinaigrette by adding the vinegar, oil and shallot, then shake well to emulsify and set aside. When the lentils are done, drain them well, and toss them with the vinaigrette, the cooked vegetables and the parsley. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, and olive oil if needed. . Serve warm or at room temperature on baby lettuce and top with crumbled goat cheese. Serves 6. Cooked lentils will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. They can be gently reheated in a pan on the stovetop or in a microwave, but take extra care not to overcook them.


This will be linked to Oh the Places I've Been at the Tablescaper. Have a nice weekend everyone.

49 comments:

  1. Sam, you buy the same things we do!!! I am so looking forward to shopping the French markets again. This salad looks wonderful. All wonderful tastes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Did you save some for me? It looks delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sam, I think there is nothing more earthy and satisfying than a lentil salad. The tiny French lentils are a prize. I've finally mastered the knack of cooking them just right. I like my lentils with a little firmness. You remind me that I have a package in the pantry ...

    ReplyDelete
  4. A lovely salad indeed!!! Lentils and goat's Cheese, it does not get any better than this!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh Sam, this is lovely. I do hope you will post it in on my BSI this week, it's Goat Cheese. The colors are just beautiful. I have one teensy tinesy request....Can I please carry your suitcases on your next trip???? The photos are amazing and it sounds like you had a great time! Happy Monday~LeslieMichele

    ReplyDelete
  6. oh wow what a wonderful salad love lentils and what a fab place to sit and have a laid back lunch got to love the French

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love the simplicity of this lovely salad. Lentils, hot or cold, are wonderfully satisfying and your recipe sounds delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have never had this type of lentil Sam but it seems as though I am really missing out.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love lentils so much, and this recipe looks like a keeper. YUM!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Excellent pictures of the trip but that salad is visually stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Stunning photos! What a great take on a lentil salad. I am always looking for inspiration when using lentils so I will be giving this one a try.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lovely pictures. The salad looks and sounds wonderful - I love lentils.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love puy lentils and Fontaine de Vaucluse is so pretty with all that swishing water flowing past whilst you sit in a cafe.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sam,
    Thanks for the mention......these lentils are getting expensive!
    I have been ordering 3 boxes at a time from The Frenchy Bee, I am addicted!
    Stacey

    ReplyDelete
  15. This salad looks stunning, I so want to try it. I would also have love to bring back all those goodies from the French market that you did. My friends think I'm nuts...getting excited about spices, salts and such! Now I have to check out Stacy's Snacks!

    Thanks for posting the beautiful photos, and have a nice day!

    ReplyDelete
  16. A terrific salad! I love the addition of goat cheese!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello Sam
    this is my first visit to your blog, and i am loving it. THis salad is simple, delicious and beautiful...
    thanks for sharing... Have a great day

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a great salad that you made with healthy lentils! I'vew got to add this to my list of recipes to make! Love your photos of France! How fortunate of you to visit there! Roz

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love that place! If we return..I will bring back lentils now..
    Oh what nice memories you brought back to me!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I want to go to France. Your photos are lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love those lentils too. Thank heaven I can find them in my area! Your salad is dressed very simply so that the flavor of the lentils shines through. I have a similar recipe, but have never added goat cheese. Great idea, Sam!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Your photos of Fontaine de Valcluse, are beautiful, especially the last one.

    The lentil salad is gorgeous and I adore goat cheese.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Pure envy. That is what I'm feeling (without malice, of course). I've never been to these beautiful places. I dream of it. Gorgeous!
    As for the lentils...more envy. I love lentils. What a terrific recipe.
    Debby

    ReplyDelete
  24. what a great salad..lentils are so tasty and the adding goat cheese..love it!!
    sweetlife

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wonderful salad! I made a salad like this a while back and cooked up these lentils for the first time. They are so delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Every time I read your posts, Sam, I want to pack a suitcase and head back to France. Your photos are wonderful.

    No trip to France this year but at least I can search out lentils for this mouthwatering salad.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I make this salad! It is refreshing and substantial at the same time. I also love Stacey's blog. What a grand reminder to search for some puy lentils!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Reading your post and staring at the scenic photographs and French lentil salad was like taking a virtual trip to France. Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Miammm !!!!

    I love your recipe and the photos of la Provence !!!
    Good job !!!!
    Un beso,
    Cristina

    ReplyDelete
  30. A great salad!

    Nice pictures of Provence, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have had lentils in every form except in a salad, so this I will have to try. I so love them. Love your beautiful photo's too.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm enjoying your photos from Provence, it makes me realize that I have so much more to see of this region.

    This looks like a wonderful and very Provencal dish. I will be making this one soon.

    ReplyDelete
  33. What a superb lentil salad this is!

    Waw & MMMMMMM,...I so loved reading this lovely post!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Sam,
    These beautiful photos of Fontaine de Valcluse make me want to take a trip to France. What a lovely country. The French Lentil Salad with goat cheese looks so good. I enjoy your posting very much.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I can hardly stand it, but we are going to Spain this year, and hubby said we can slip into France!

    I love lentils and keep these on hand, how brilliant to add them to salad, I have to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I love lentils-so I think I would love this salad : ) Your photos are amazing as usual!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Love the photos and the recipe Sam. I will look for the vinegar at The Fresh Market when we get back to NC.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I just came back from a trip and am catching up. I shall try your lentille salade for sure as it does sound wonderful. Olive wood is also one of my favorite. It is so hard to resist buying all these things when in Provence. Last November while in Marseille I bought two dozen of the little savons de Marseille of different fragrance. I placed them in my carry-on, and the security dog at the Atlanta airport came and sniffed at my bag. I also bought a large tablecloth in an outdoor market, Provence style print, as it was so pretty. I bought it blue though, as blue is supposed to turn off your appetite – red and yellow to increase it. My appetite is large enough … unfortunately. Yesterday was my birthday and as we did not eat cake in San Antonio, TX, today I went to Douceur de France, a bakery close by and purchased a variety of cakes. The owners are French and the pastries taste just like in France, you would love them. A cake au Grand Marnier had a lot of it in the cake and it was not too sweet. Here is the site: http://www.douceurdefrance.com/.

    ReplyDelete
  39. How interesting that you get Lentilles vertes du Puy!! I always have some in my pantry! Have to try this salad, I always make them hot.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I do need to try more lentil dishes and am going to be putting this one on my TODO list!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Sam, those lentils look SO good. I love them!

    I want you to know I missed you at the lunch. I'm so sorry you weren't feeling up to snuff and hope that you're better with each day's passing and that you will feel tip top soon.

    Let's try to get together again at some point. I'd love to meet you!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Whenever I read about Provence I remember the year I spent in Aix, supposedly going to university, in reality eating my heart out!
    Love this recipe! Hate to admit it but I have never cooked these types of lentils before (and God knows I use lentils in my kitchen!)
    You are so right about the ingredients and the vinegar is a must! Great post and lovely photos!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Lovely green lentils and lovely memories. I swear I have been to that Riverside cafe, but the town name does not sound familiar. We once drove from Paris to Nice and stopped all kinds of places I cannot remember the names of though... maybe this is one of those. GREG

    ReplyDelete
  44. Goat cheese is good on anything really. Whether it's cold or warm, it's one of those cheeses that makes a meal.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Such gorgeous photographs to accompany this delicious salad! I felt a pang from missing Fresh Market - how I loved that store when we lived in Charlotte and Raleigh. [Sigh.]

    ReplyDelete
  46. What a glorious looking salad - so fresh looking and the goat cheese would add just the right tang!

    Perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  47. This is a fantastic, fresh & yummy salad O i feel hungry!


    Term Papers

    ReplyDelete

I enjoy reading each and every comment. If you leave a comment with a question or that requires an answer, please leave an address or way for me to get in touch with you. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam