Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Adapted from "Still Life with Menu"
Preparation time: 40 minutes to prepare, plus several hours to chill.
Yield: Easily serves 6
poppies

Sweet and savory combine harmoniously in this colorful, fruity marinated salad. Streamline the preparation time by getting everything else ready while the lentils are cooking. The whole salad can be made up to two days ahead of time, but postpone adding the bell pepper and fresh herbs until shortly before serving.

NOTE ABOUT COOKING LENTILS: Try to prevent the water from getting agitated while the lentils are cooking, as that will cause them to burst and lose their shape. The goal is to have perfectly cooked lentils„light and distinct.

2 cups dried lentils (preferably small French lentils-but any kind will do)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar
1/4 cup very finely minced red onion
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon each grated orange and lime zest
1/2 cup (packed) dried currants
1 small carrot, shredded or finely minced
1/2 each of a small red and yellow bell pepper, minced
A handful each: finely minced fresh parsley, chives, and mint
  1. flowersRinse the lentils in a colander. Meanwhile, set a large potful of water to boil—at least 6 cups of water. After the water has reached the boiling point, lower the heat to a simmer. Add the lentils, and cook very gently in the simmering water, partially covered, until they are tender. (Check the water level and add more if necessary.) Cooking time should be around 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the lentils when they are done, and gently rinse in cold water. Drain again and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except the bell pepper and fresh herbs, cover tightly, and chill at least 4 hours.
  3. Add the bell pepper and herbs within an hour of serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.
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