A sophisticated lentil salad, perfect for a special picnic. Serve as a side salad with a sandwich or alone as a light lunch spooned onto delicate greens and served with some good sourdough bread.
2 cups dried French lentils (or brown lentils)
5 cups water
1/4 cup currants
5 tablespoons Caramelized Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe is in the Dressing category, make ahead of time)
1 large ripe round tomato or 3 plum tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh-ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup basil leaves, sliced thin (optional)
Put the lentils into a saucepan, and cover them with the water. Bring the water to a boil, and then turn down the heat. Simmer the lentils for 20 minutes, uncoverd, adding more water if necessary to prevent scorching. When the lentils are tender but slightly chewy, add the currants, and simmer 2 minutes more.
Drain the lentil-currant mixture well, and transfer to a bowl. While the mixture is still hot, add the Caramelized Balsamic Vinaigrette. Stir well with spoon.
Add the tomato pieces, shallots, walnuts, salt, and pepper to the lentil mixture. Stir well. Serve the salad warm, or chill it. Sprinkle on the basil leaves just before serving. This salad will keep for 2 days, covered, in the refrigerator.