Some things don't always look beautiful but are really quite amazing. Take the echidna, for example, a rather odd looking creation with spines and a questing nose that has a rather unlikely but fascinating sex life.
Take the puy lentil too - it may look like something that's come out of the wrong end of a rabbit, but it's nonetheless loveable for it.
I've been fiddling around with this lentil recipe for a while. I'd mostly been cooking it hot, stirring chopped tomatoes and sage into the lentils and baking in the oven with the sausages on top. Tried it with white wine, tried it with red wine. Fail, fail, fail.
The puy lentils, you see, were dying to be used in a salad, cold. Who was I to deny them?
Puy lentil salad
Makes a metric truckload, enough for 4 to six people as a side dish
7oz puy lentils
A bay leaf
Two celery ribs
One large carrot
Two ripe tomatoes
Two tablespoons olive oil
Two tablespoons white wine vinegar
One to two teaspoons Dijon mustard (depending on how hot you like it)
One clove of garlic, finely grated
Very generous handful of parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
How you do it
Cut your celery ribs into half lengthwise and then chop into 1cm sections. Chop your carrots into 1cm dice and do the same with the tomatoes (you can also use a handful of cherry or baby plum cut in half to replace each full-size tomato).
Bring some stock to the boil, add a bay leaf and then the lentils.
Bring the pan back to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cover and leave for 3 minutes or so.
Add the carrot and celery into the pan and continue to simmer until the vegetables and lentils are cooked.
Leave to cool a little, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir until mixed through.
Tastes good either warm or cold, and definitely tastes good with sausages.