Saturday, 12 August 2017

Puy lentil, lardon and poached egg salad

Last night's dinner was an attempt to create a satisfying "meal-in-a-bowl" salad, rich in protein which makes you feel like you had a sustaining meal. Sometimes, salad makes you feel virtuous to begin with, but hungry later. The design here is the fibre and protein provided by the Puy lentils helps keep you going, keeping you feel fuller for longer. 

I won't deny that bacon, whether grilled slices of pancetta, or cooked lardons, or cooked up for a traditional bacon butty is favourite thing of mine. I love it. Equally, this dish could be tweaked with chicken, or mozzarella or grilled halloumi with great results. 

I made this poached egg using the poached egg sachets branded "Poachies". These are single use fabric sachets which make the poaching very simple. The timing is critical depending on how how you like you eggs cooked. Just cooked (with fluid centre) requires 3 and a half minutes, regular poaching is 4 minutes, properly cooked is 4 and a half minutes. I prefer mine "just cooked", which I recognise is a matter of preference. 

 
Puy lentil, lardon and poached egg salad

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Salad:
 
75g puy lentils, rinsed
4-5 red radishes, washed and sliced into 5mm thick rounds. 
3" cucumber, washed and sliced into 5mm thick rounds. 
4 spring onions, washed and sliced into 7-8mm thick rounds. 
Handful of mange tout, topped, tailed and halved.
6-8 cherry tomatoes, sliced into 7-8mm thick rounds
Pack of lardons, 80-125g, depending on the Supermarket
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Dressing:
 
1 teaspoon, Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoon, White Wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pinch (1/4 teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch (1/4 teaspoon) freshly ground sea salt
1/2 pinch (1/8 teaspoon) Herbes de Provence

Method:

  1. Once you have rinsed the Puy lentils, put them into a small saucepan, cover with water and put in the hob on a high heat initially. Once boiling, turn the heat to a low simmer. 
  2. The packet for my Puy lentils suggested a 30-40 minute cooking time, but mine only needed 25 minutes. Just before the lentils cook, put about a mug (250ml) of water in a kettle and boil.
  3. The lardons need to be dry fried in a non-stick frying pan and left to cool.
  4. The dressing is best made in a small bowl, adding the ingredients and whisking them together with a small hand whisk.
  5. The mange tout needs to be blanched for 1 minute and run under cold water. 
  6. Hopefully, the 25 minute cooking time for the lentils will give you enough time to prepare the other ingredients.
  7. Ensure the dressing is ready for when the lentils complete cooking. When the lentils are just cooked (al dente), drain and rinse with the boiling water. Put into a bowl and dress with all but the last 5 ml of the dressing from step 4 above. Leave to cool. 
  8. Once the lentils are cool, combine with all of the other the salad ingredients. Mix well.
  9. Divide up the salad ingredients on two pages, drizzle with the remaining salad dressing.
  10. Fill a small pan with water and bring to the boil for the eggs. Put out two mugs for the two eggs. Put a poaching bag in each. Crack an egg into each bag. Cook for 3 and a half minutes. Take off the heat immediately, put one on each bowl and serve immediately.