In Paris, at a restaurant, alone, on my 60th birthday (not complaining, I’d take that any day) I had this salad. It was a Sunday, and May 8th is a holiday in Paris, of course, Victory in Europe Day. The day the war ended. NOTHING was open. Sundays are dicey anyway and a holiday. Forget it. I wandered around pathetically looking for somewhere, anywhere to eat. Eventually, after walking by this passable, not all that lovely restaurant a few times (I seem to have been walking in circles) I decided to sit down there, hungry, defeated in my frantic search, at a table outside. Besides I was ready to have a glass of wine rather than have the waiters, who were standing outside, watch me pass by yet another time. What the hell, having a mediocre meal isn’t as bad as having a 60th birthday.
But it was wonderful. The smoking waiter who had watched me pass repeatedly was very accommodating and pretended I spoke French (which is enough to lure me into anywhere) and the people at the next table were friendly (which means they nodded sympathetically at me). The wine was great and I had this incredible salad that I have made my own.
Victory in Europe Salad
1 cup of lentils
3 cups of chicken stock (water works fine)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 or so vinaigrette
Salt and pepper
First take the lentils and soak them in a few cups of water with
a tsp of baking soda for a half hour or so.
Drain and rinse.
Bring the stock and lentils to a boil, reduce to low, covered, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Drain and allow to cool for 10-20 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl.
Pour vinaigrette onto the lentils while still warm and toss.
When cool add other ingredients and toss.
Shallot Caper Vinaigrette
1 shallot chopped, about 2 TB
2 TB dijon mustard
2 TB wine wine vinegar
Whisk this all together and slowly
add while whisking:
6 – 10 TB olive oil
Salt and pepper
Once you have the vinaigrette to a lovely rich consistency add;
2 TB brined capers and a little brine
This stuff lasts for a while in the refrigerator,
let it sit at room temp
for a while and re-whisk before using.