June 22, 2012

Provençal Tales - French Lentil Salad with Chanterelles

It wasn't hard to predict that I would fall in love with Provence. I mean, what is there not to love? Mediterranean climate with dry heat and lots of sun, peaceful country villages with a strong sense of community, friendly and polite people and of course the amazing food. This has to be the most idyllic way of life.

We are staying with my brother and truly immersing into the local way of life: we greet the locals on the streets with a quiet Bonjour, we go to the boulangerie around the corner to buy a fresh baguette, we shop for seasonal ingredients at the markets. 


I've swapped my morning power walks into quiet late afternoon strolls. My green smoothies have been replaced by fresh summer fruit and I create new recipes as I come across ingredients in the shops and at the markets. There is a slower pace of life in this idyllic village, and it's fitting perfectly with our holiday mood.

The view from our window

Quiet afternoon walks

Is there anything more Provencal than lavenders?

 At the markets in Aix-en-Provence


A lentil salad with dried chanterelle mushrooms seemed very appropriate for this atmosphere. Simple ingredients, honest flavours; peasant-like food. French puy lentils cook quickly and dried mushrooms are easy to prepare. Dinner is ready in half an hour. 

 French Lentil Salad with Chanterelles

200g puy lentils
vegetable stock
30g dried chanterelle mushrooms
2 shallots
bunch flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
balsamic or red wine vinegar, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cook the lentils in vegetable stock (add about 3 times stock to the amount of lentils)  until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain if needed and pour into a large bowl.

2. Cook finely chopped shallots in olive oil or water for a couple of minutes. Add the shallots in to the bowl with lentils.

3. Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain and plunge into boiling water for about 15 minutes. Drain and chop coarsely.

4. Mix finely chopped parsley and mushrooms with lentils and season with olive oil, balsamic or red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.