Lentil Salad with Walnuts, Capers and Mint

Another great summer lentil salad recipe. This time the earthy flavor of the lentils is complemented by walnuts. The capers and mint add depth while lemon juice in the vinaigrette brightens the dish. An unusual and tasty flavor profile. Serve as a side dish or with bread as a main course.

Based on the recipe Lentils with Capers, Walnuts, Walnut Oil, and Mint in The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells

1 ½ cup French lentils, the little green ones

For the Stock
1 onion, peeled and left whole
2 cloves, pierced into the peeled onion
1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into four sections
1 bouquet garni – bay leaf, a couple of branches of parsley, and couple sprigs of thyme tied in a bundle
1 celery stalk, cut into 2 inch sections

For the Vinaigrette
2 T fresh lemon juice
5-6 T good quality walnut oil
Salt to taste

For the salad
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
¼ cup capers, drained
¼ chopped mint leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking the Lentils
Cull the lentils to make sure that there aren’t any small stones or other unwanted impurities. Place them in a sauce pan with plenty of cold water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes. Drain. Refill the sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and the stock ingredients. Simmer gently over low heat until the lentils are tender but still retain their shape, about 20 minutes. While the lentils are cooking prepare the vinaigrette. Drain and discard the stock ingredients leaving only the lentils.

In a bowl large enough to hold the finished salad, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette.

Putting the Salad Together
Add the hot lentils to the vinaigrette and mix to coat. Add the remaining ingredients – capers, walnuts and mint – and combine to distribute evenly. Correct the seasoning and let sit for at least 1 hour before serving to meld the flavors. Can be served at room temperature or cold.