Lentil Salad and an Ode to Maille Mustard

I found this recipe in my Fall 2012 Entertaining from Cook’s Illustrated magazine and  knew right away I would like it. I am a huge fan of lentil soup, so lentil salad with a mustard vinaigrette seemed like an obvious win.

You may have noticed a jar of Maille mustard on my masthead. It looks like this:

I warmed up to mustard later in life. I think I was about twenty-two before I could eat it at all, and then each year my love for mustard grew exponentially. I am embarrassed that I was a big fan of what passes for Dijon mustard in this country; I always keep a jar of Grey Poupon in the refrigerator. When I was in Paris, I was drawn to the colorful display of the Maille Mustard Boutique, at 6 place de la Madeleine. It really is a mustard boutique. Think about that for a second and tell me the French aren’t magnifique.

After sampling a few varieties, I purchased a ceramic jar of Moutarde Fine au Vin blanc, or white wine mustard. The mustard comes right out of a tap and is sealed with a cork. Blessedly, it survived the transatlantic trip, and if I was smart, I would have stocked up some more. I am down to the last precious little bit, and I devoted it to this recipe. Unfortunately, this is NOT the same Maille mustard we can get in North America. I don’t know what silly trade rules or FDA regulations are responsible for this travesty, but I do know that the mustard from France is much stronger and fuller bodied than any Maille Dijon that can be purchased here or in Canada.

But back to this recipe! It’s a great little salad that can become a full meal if you add chicken or sausage, but it is substantial enough to stand alone, too.

Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Scallions, adapted from Entertaining, Fall 2012

1 1/2 cups lentilles du Poy, but I just used regular old lentils, rinsed

1 small onion, halved

3 bay leaves

1 sprig of fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3/4 cup roasted red peppers, patted dry and finely chopped

1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (I used 1/2 c)

3 scallions, sliced thin

1. Combine 6 cups water, lentils, onion, bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil in large pot. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

2. While cooking lentils, whisk together vinegar, oil, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl and set aside.

3. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid and drain lentils, removing and discarding onion, thyme and bay leaves. Transfer to medium bowl and toss with dressing. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in red peppers, walnuts and scallions. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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2 thoughts on “Lentil Salad and an Ode to Maille Mustard

  1. Lentil salad is a go to favorite in our family – but I’d not thought of walnuts, I’ll give that a try. I really do like the French lentils – they stay so magically cute and little when you cook them. I don’t understand why they are three times the price though.

  2. Pingback: The Secret to a Perfect French Vinaigrette | Mom Mom's Apron

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