Cooking with Parsley: French Lentils

This herb is more than just a frill.

| June/July 1996

  • Parsley plays an important part in this delicious summer fare - French Lentils and Couscous Salad.

Serves 4 to 8

The cool and hot counterpoints of parsley and mustard add an extra dimension to these toothsome lentils. Use only tiny, deep green French lentils; they’re available in gourmet food stores.

• 2 cups (about 12 ounces) Verte du Puy lentils
• Water
• ½ cup finely minced parsley
• ¼ to ½ cup red wine vinegar
• 2 to 4 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 to 4 cloves garlic, mashed
• Salt to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Hot pepper sauce to taste (optional)

1. Rinse the lentils and remove any stones or debris. Place them in a large saucepan with water to cover. Cover the pan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, partly covered, 20–30 minutes, or until the lentils are barely tender. Add water as needed to prevent them from boiling dry.

2. Drain off any excess water. Place the lentils in a bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients, starting with the smaller amounts of vinegar and mustard and adding more to taste. Serve warm or chill immediately and serve cold.

Cornelia Carlson, an inveterate herb gardener, has a Ph.D. in biochemistry. She is the author of The Practically Meatless Gourmet (Berkley, 1996) and a contributor to Nutrition Secrets of the Ancients (Prima, 1996).

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