French in a Flash: Bright Lentil Salad with Apples, Fennel, and Herbs

French In A Flash

Quick and easy recipes that prove that great French food doesn't require a tall hat and a fancy kitchen.

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[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

This is a bright, hearty, and optimistic salad. Admittedly, it's also a total knock-off of my go-to dish at my favorite French restaurant in London, La Petite Maison, which specializes in taking Provençal peasant food and reinventing it at the height of sophistication. The salad is simple, but unexpected: firm little du Puy lentils, finely diced apple and fennel, some bright herbs (I use Greek basil and fresh thyme), and a very fresh, loose vinaigrette made from olive oil and cider vinegar. It's nice to know that some of the most basic food—a fruit, a vegetable, and the lowly, humble lentil—can come together in something unexpected and above the ordinary. It's like a Cinderella salad.

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Bright Lentil Salad with Apples, Fennel, and Herbs »