Tag Archives: tarragon

Lentil Salad Three Ways

Lentil Salad Three Ways

Buy a bag of lentils at Safeway for $1.49, or spend $8 for a fancy box of French Le Puy Lentils at Whole Foods. Either way, you can create a myriad of healthy salads that will keep in the fridge for about a week and work as main dishes, sides or snacks. Put the lentil salad on top of a bed of lettuce or the add arugula for bite. Roll the lentils up in a whole wheat tortilla for a healthy bean wrap. Serve warm with fish, like Salmon or Mahi Mahi. The possibilities are endless.

To prepare the lentils, follow the directions on the side of the package. Do not pre-soak lentils. They cook pretty quickly. Typically, for a 16 oz bag of lentils, bring 8-10 cups of water to boil in a large pot. Add the lentils and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes. For salads, you want the lentils to maintain a little bite so that they don’t get too mushy. Start checking them at 25 minutes to get the texture just right. A 16-oz bag of lentils will yield about six cups of cooked lentils.

Heirloom Tomato-Basil Lentil Salad

Heirloom Tomato-Basil Lentil Salad

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

2 cups cooked lentils
1 large or 2 small heirloom tomatoes, diced into small cubes.
2 Tbsp minced shallots or scallions
1/4 cup minced fresh basil and additional leaves for garnish
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tbsp of Crumbled Feta (optional) – I left it out because I like to try to be vegan when I can

Method

1. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar into an emulsion. Toss lentils, tomatoes, shallots, minced basil, and oil vinegar to combine. Season with pepper and garnish with basil leaf and feta if using. Serve chilled.

Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette Lentil Salad

Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette Lentil Salad

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

2 cups cooked lentils
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 Tbsp minced shallot or scallions
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp minced tarragon

Method

1. Whisk together the vinegar, shallots, salt, pepper, olive oil, mustard and tarragon. Toss with red bell pepper and lentils to combine. Garnish with tarragon leaves. Serve chilled.

Lemon Dill Lentil Salad

Fresh Lemon-Dill Lentil Salad

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients
2 cups cooked lentils
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced
2 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp minced shallot or scallions
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Whisk together lemon juice, shallots, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Toss with lentils, red bell pepper and fresh dill to combine. Garnish with sprigs of dill.

Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette

Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette

Butter Lettuce with Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette

The other day, I had lunch at The Left Bank in Larkspur, CA, and I had this lovely butter lettuce salad with a tarragon-mustard vinaigrette. The plate came with an entire head of butter lettuce and the vinaigrette was so smooth, I simply had to try to recreate it at home.

I was lucky today because by chance, I already had shallots and fresh tarragon in the fridge and I remembered to pick up a head of butter lettuce on my way home from dropping off the kids at school. Lunch, here I come.

When standing in front of my bottles of olive oil and vinegar, however, I thought, “I bet Michael Ruhlman’s book, Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking has something to say about this.” Sure enough, a quick Google search yielded a guest post he wrote over at Elise Bauer’s Simply Recipes. In that post, he actually provides three different vinaigrette recipes. I chose to make the tarragon-mustard vinaigrette because I hoped it would match what I had at The Left Bank.

It almost did – definitely close enough for lunch at home. Just make sure to use the highest quality ingredients you can find and whip it up with full gusto.

Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette
adapted from Michael Ruhlman’s recipe

2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp minced shallot
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon

In a tall bowl, combine the vinegar, shallot, salt, pepper, and mustard. Give it a stir with a whisk or fork to soften the shallot then drizzle the oil in while whisking continuously to form an emulsion. Wait to stir in the tarragon just before serving.

For more information about Michael Ruhlman and his amazing work on ratios, check out his iPhone app and watch this video that explains it.

Chicken w/ Tarragon, Gruyère & Mushroom Cream Sauce

Chicken w/ Tarragon, Mushroom and Gruyère Cream Sauce

Chicken w/ Tarragon, Gruyère & Mushroom Cream Sauce

In the US, when you exit the highway for a rest and a bite to eat, you choose from among several fast food restaurants and maybe an Applebees. In France last month, when we exited the A10 to placate a crying toddler during a drive from Paris to the Loîre Valley, we rolled into a quiet, 12th century stone village named Rochefort-en-Yvelines. It was the kind of village that is shuttered and empty at noon on a Tuesday because everyone is home for lunch. But a brief walk up a cobblestone side street yielded a delightful scene. There, behind a courtyard wall were tables and tables of people enjoying lunch outside. We had stumbled upon the Brigandville Restaurant at the base of L’église Saint-Gilles-et-de-l’Assomption, a church built in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Lunch at the Brigandville - Rochefort-en-Yvelines

Lunch at the Brigandville

Chloe and Gerard

Rochefort-en-Yvelines

At this wonderful little spot (described so well in a blog post by Chocolat et Lavande here), my husband and I both ordered the Steak au Poivre, but it was the dish I ordered for my son that was truly memorable. It was chicken in a creamy tarragon, mushroom and Gruyére sauce served over wild rice pilaf. I’m pretty sure I ate more it than he did, the poor guy. Since returning home, I’ve wanted to recreate this amazing dish. It’s taken me awhile because I have trouble splurging on Gruyère cheese, which is $18/lb at our market, and I forget to buy fresh tarragon. But everything came together this weekend, so here it is.

I used a recipe that I found on the Food & Wine website as the basis for the sauce. Several differences evolved as I tweaked it. They use morels and cremini mushrooms, whereas, I just used regular white mushrooms. I used boneless, skinless thighs instead of chicken breasts. And, the Food & Wine recipe does not call for Gruyère, like mine does.

Ingredients

1 8 oz package of white mushrooms (I used pre-sliced)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8-10 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese

Method

1. Heat a large, deep sautée pan over medium high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. They should sizzle right away. Use tongs to open up the thighs and flatten them out. Sautée for about 4 minutes each side. Remove them from pan to a plate.

2. Add butter and mushrooms to the pan and sautée mushrooms until they just start to release their liquid, about 4 minutes.

3. Add white wine and simmer until reduced to just a couple of tablespoons, about 3 minutes.

4. Add chicken stock and simmer until reduced by 2/3, about 6 minutes.

5. Add the heavy cream and the tarragon and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and blend well. Add the grated Gruyère and stir constantly until melted and blended in. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Return chicken to the pan. (While the chicken was sitting, it sweat out a lot of juices. I did not add these back into the sauce because I felt I had gotten the balance of sauce flavors just right, but I imagine you could add that juice back in to good effect). Stir to coat chicken and simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes.

Serve immediately over rice or pasta.

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