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Light-work lentils

Lentil recipe light--work lentils

1 cup French green lentils

1 carrot

1 celery stalk

1 waxy potato, such as Yukon Gold

2 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon (or so) coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces goat cheese, optional

Makes 4 servings.

1. Rinse: Pick out any suspicious specks from the lentils. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. Scrape into a medium saucepan.

2. Chop: Relying on the old-fashioned chef's knife, dice the carrot, celery and potato into 1/2-inch cubes. Coarsely chop garlic. Add vegetables and bay leaf to the saucepan.

3. Simmer: Pour in cold water to cover lentils by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes.

4. Dress: Drain in a colander. Scrape into a serving bowl. Dress with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve hot or warm (or even cold) with cheese crumbled on top, if you like.

Provenance: I got this recipe from my friend Ann Mohler, who tossed it together in desperation before a steak dinner with her vegetarian daughter. It's a potato-bolstered version of the French classic. I spiked the creamy lentils with a splash of vinegar and crumble of goat cheese, but otherwise found it too good to need repair.