Monday, May 15, 2017

Potato and lentil salad with basil vinaigrette

I had seen a post of David Leibovitz where he is in love with basil vinaigrette as much he is in love with pesto. We used to eat a lot of basil pesto but then got bored of it, and I started making pesto with  baby arugula and baby watercress, but this vinaigrette looked interesting and I decided to give it a try. The vinaigrette has all the elements of a traditional french potato salad dressing with a little extra. Lentils added some bulk and a change in texture. Its a perfect vegetarian main course salad.
The creamy potatoes, with the earthy french lentils, mild pickled shallots and the tangy vinaigrette work beautifully together. Spring and summer are a great time to make this salad when basil leaves are easily available. Use the freshest basil leaves as the vinaigrette is the star of the dish!

Potato and lentil salad with basil vinaigrette
24 oz fresh new potatoes cut into quarters or sixth's depending on the size
1 cup French green lentils
1 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons white vine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Basil Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  1. Add 3 cups of water and 1 cup lentils to a 3 quart saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Simmer over medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and continue to simmer for 10 to 15 more minutes till the lentils are cooked but not mushy. If the water has not absorbed, drain the excess water. Transfer to the serving bowl and set aside.
  2. Place the potatoes in another large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes till the potatoes are cooked but not breaking apart. Drain and combine with the lentils.
  3. While the lentils and potatoes are cooking, in a small bowl, add the lemon juice to the shallots and let it pickle. 
  4. Drain the shallots to the potato and lentil mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finally drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad.
 Serves 3 to 4

Basil Vinaigrette by David Leibovitz
1/2 cup (125ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 small shallot (25g) peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon kosher or flaky sea salt
2 cups loosely packed (25g) fresh basil leaves

Combine all of the above in a small blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Makes about 1/3 cup.

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