Have you ever panicked that there is just so much food and so little time? I do. Frequently.
I remember the first time I felt a pang of THERE IS JUST SO MUCH TO EAT AND ONLY SO MANY DAYS IN A WEEK AND HOURS IN A DAY! AND MONTHS IN A YEAR! EVERY DAY I HAVE TO DECIDE! I’M NOT GOING TO HAVE TIME TO EAT IT ALL! THE MATH JUST DOESN’T ADD UP! – it was triggered by a coconut cream pie. So now every time I get overwhelmed by the food possibilities out there (eating in and out), or unreasonably angry that I’ve wasted valuable space and calories on something that was not all it should be, I think of coconut cream pie. OK, not really every time. But sometimes I have my coconut cream pie moments.
I get this feeling a lot when I get sucked into the vortex of food blogs – skipping from one to the next, bookmarking stuff and taking mental notes that invariably more mental notes get loaded on top of until I go a little bit mental. Once in awhile something I see jumps the queue – this was one of them. And I had a bag of the daintiest little Canadian du puy lentils that remind me of smooth, speckled green river stones that I was dying to use.
A Gourmet recipe, it was originally titled “Fried Eggs Over Warm Lentil Salad with Lardons”, which sounds appealingly rustic and British, but of course we don’t generally use the term lardon to describe the bacon in our skillets, and because I’m trying to be a little bit less lardon I poached my eggs instead of frying them. Every little bit helps.
This was actually lunch and dinner; at 6pm I tossed the leftover lentil salad back into the skillet I had just cooked plain old pork chops in, tossing them around to warm them and get some of those flavourful bits. It made a great accompaniment; ditto pork tenderloin or roast, I’d imagine.
Poached Eggs Over Warm Lentil Salad with Bacon
Thanks again, Gourmet. (This of course has been adapted – I also tossed the spinach right in and wilted it, rather than scattering it overtop the eggs as per their instruction.) If you want to throw a peeled clove of garlic into the pot of lentils while they simmer, go right ahead.
3/4 cup dried lentils (I used little green du Puy lentils)
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, or to taste
1 cup baby spinach
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
salt & pepper
4-8 large eggs
In a small saucepan, cover lentils with about twice as much water, bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until just tender. (You can do this ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready for them.)
While the lentils are simmering, cook the bacon until crisp in a large, heavy skillet; transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate, leaving the drippings in the skillet. (If you like, pour them out and add a drizzle of canola or olive oil.) Add the leeks, celery, and carrot and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and cook until it’s mostly evaporated. Drain the lentils well and add them to the skillet along with the spinach and tarragon; cook, stirring, until heated through and the spinach wilts. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the bacon.
Meanwhile, poach your eggs. Divide the warm lentil salad among 4 plates and top with the eggs. Serves 4.
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