The first time I tried lentils was at age of 6 or so. My mom was homeschooling us at the time (I was homeschooled until I went to high school at 14), and we had been learning about the Egyptian Pharaohs and history. We had a little 'pharaoh' party complete with paper grocery bag tunics that we decorated, and she made lentil soup. I remember being extremely suspicious of it at first, and then trying it and being surprised at how delicious it was.
Because I have known about lentils for years, it surprised me when I mentioned that I had made a lentil soup to a friend, and she didn't know what they were. So, in case your mother didn't feed you lentil soup at age 6, you can find them in the bulk section of your grocery store (hopefully). If not, they should be with the dried beans. For this recipe, I used green lentils, but you could also use French lentils. Don't use red lentils, because they will get too mushy.
This salad sounds a little wintery for our 70°F+ weather, but if you are still stuck in snow drifts, it could be perfect for you. If you are experiencing spring, you ought to try it anyway, because it is pretty darn delicious. It hit 80°F yesterday, and I would still eat it!
Warm Lentil and Bacon Salad:
adapted from One Good Dish
4 - 6 slices of high quality bacon chopped into bite-size pieces
1 tsp thyme
1 carrot sliced into wheels
1 cup green lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 large gold or red potato cubed
salt and pepper
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic
salt and pepper
1 Tbs dijon mustard
1/4 olive oil
In a saucepan, add the potato to boiling water and let cook for about 10 minutes or until soft.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook bacon for 7 minutes on medium high until it is crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet, draining all but 1 Tbs bacon drippings. Add the onion, thyme and carrot to the skillet and cook until the onions are translucent and the carrot is soft. Season with salt and pepper. Turn heat to low. Add the cooked potato in and stir a few times to coat in bacon fat and herbs.
In the now-empty saucepan, add lentils, broth and bay leaf and cook for about 20 minutes, or until soft. Add lentils to the skillet, and stir to help coat in bacon grease, and to keep warm.
In a small jar, combine vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, mustard and olive oil and shake to combine.
Heap a good amount of lentil salad mixture into a bowl and pour the vinaigrette over the top. Serve warm.