Lentils are one of the oldest pulses in the Eastern Mediterranean and one of the most important on Ikaria. Mostly people cook them up in simple soups. This salad is a bit of a hybrid, something we eat in our home in the spring and early summer, when there is still plenty of feathery wild fennel around. You can substitute dill instead, and the salad may be served warm or at room temperature.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 cups small lentils, rinsed
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped or thinly sliced
- 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- ½ cup chopped fennel fronds or snipped fresh dill
- ½ cup chopped fresh Chinese celery or regular celery leaves
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried Greek oregano
- 10 olives: kalamata or wrinkled (salt-cured) black olives such as Greek throumbes or Moroccan
- ½ cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- Place the lentils in a pot with enough cold water to cover by 3 inches (7.5 cm). Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender but al dente, 25 to 35 minutes. Drain and rinse.
- Transfer the lentils to a serving bowl and add the fennel, onion, fennel fronds (or dill), celery, mint, oregano, and olives.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and salt to taste. Pour into the salad, toss well, and serve.