Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Arugula and Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese

Like Maggie, my meals in recent weeks have been composed of salad and take-out. I make the salad; he orders the take-out. This loose system has helped me to get through another stretch of book editing well-fed yet nourished by the fresh produce that taunts me when I walk through the market.

It's a shame, really, to be working so hard during the summertime. My dreams of berry cobblers and jams have passed along with the months of June and July. And thanks to the cold and glum weather in San Francisco, we ate tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches last night, not homemade tomato sauce over ribbons of fresh pasta from Luca's. At least it's good weather for staying in with a cup of tea and a pile of papers.

But then there are the days where it all comes together: I wake up early and get a lot done before noon. I have time to think about dinner, get to the store, and I remember my list so I (amazingly!) get everything on it. Then I cook and cook and cook.

This salad was a particular bright spot during a time where I have constantly felt tardy and under prepared. So French, so Southern French with its lentils, and goat cheese, and dots of colorful tomatoes. Thanks to the legumes it's hearty. All you need to make it a meal is a bottle of rose, a crusty baguette, perhaps a hard sausage to slice into chunks and gnaw. 

Good eats. No takeout required.

Arugula and Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese, from the May 2010 of MS Living.
I love lentils so I actually doubled the lentils. This allowed me to stretch dinner into a lunch or two -- a beautiful thing.
1/2 cup dried French green lentils, rinsed, drained, and picked over
1 small red onion, halved
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ounces baby arugula (6 cups loosely packed)
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved if large
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Place lentils and 1 onion half in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain; discard onion half. Transfer lentils to a medium bowl. 

Chop remaining onion. Combine vinegar and mustard. Pour in oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. Add chopped onion. Season with salt and pepper. Toss lentils with half the vinaigrette; let cool. 

Arrange half the arugula on a platter. Spoon half the lentils on top. Top with half the tomatoes and half the goat cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients to form another layer; drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.
Serves 8 or so.


Maggie said...

Brilliant. And I have a bag of lentils in the pantry that's been taunting me.

Anonymous said...

I've only recently been enjoying arugula. The peppery flavor is finally appealing to me. I will definitely be making this. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I love arugala :-) Great combo!