picking a place on the globe and fashioning an entire dinner as though eating there, is a favorite planning technique of mine. i am not proficient enough at any particular kind of cuisine to stick with one geographical locale. and so was born: mexican night. greek night. you get the picture.
yesterday, monday night was brasserie night, pour ma maman et mon frere. on le menu were lentil salad with lardons and fried egg, onion soup, brie/sausage and bread, and steamed asparagus. the lentil salad is from gourmet magazine apparently, though i found it on epicurious,
3/4 cup lentils (the small green kind, called "french lentils")
6 oz. thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch strips
(i used regular thin cut bacon and it was perfectly good, but lacked that vrai lardon quality)
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon
1 tbsp olive oile
(if your dinner is like mine, some people will want eggs, some will not. make one egg per person, for those who want)
cover lentils with cold water by 2 inches in a sauce pan. simmer, uncovered until just tender, about 20 minutes.
blanch asparagus in boiling water for about three minutes, until bright green, then shock with an ice bath
while lentils are simmering, cook the bacon in a skillet, and try not to burn yourself with flying bacon grease. once bacon is crisp, fish it out and drain on paper towels, leaving the grease in the pan.
add the leeks, carrots and celery and cook until just tender. add the red wine vinegar and cook until most of it evaporates. remove from skillet and add tarragon, half of the bacon, salt and pepper to taste. transfer to a bowl and keep warm and covered. don't clean the skillet; there is still bacon-y goodness there to exploit.
drain lentils and mix with veggies.
add a drop of oil to the skillet and fry up however many eggs you'll need, over easy.
put a blob of lentil salad, covered with an egg, with asparagus spears on the side.
put on a beret, pop in the "best of edith piaf," giggle to yourself over the brilliance of monsieur jerry lewis, and dig in!