I say winter is my favorite season. I love sweaters and snow and having a built in excuse for hot chocolate with weekend breakfasts. I love the quiet stillness of the streets and the muted quality of the light. One of my favorite things about living in the Midwest is having four distinct seasons, but winter is always tops in my book.
And then summer comes along. I start chugging iced tea and eating watermelon for dinner. I live in floaty skirts and sandals and sweat when I go outside. Aaron and I take long naps in the early evening and the sun is still shining when we wake up. There are outdoor concerts to attend and picnics to have and beaches to lay on while grumbling about tourists. And while I would never dream of allowing summer to replace winter in my heart, I have to admit that I routinely underestimate summer.
This salad is for the hot days, the lazy days, when you feel languid and still. This salad is for the days where you want something filling but still light. It’s best suited as a prequel for popsicles and a nap in the sun, but I can attest that it’s still completely satisfying if you have to work after eating. Completely.
New Potato-Lettuce Salad
Seven-minute egg adapted from Molly Wizenburg and Saveur
Many of the components of this salad can all be made ahead of time, and in fact I would recommend doing so. I like to boil new potatoes when I find them so I can reheat them whenever I’m hungry. Similarly, I almost always have a tupperware full of these lentils, ready to be added to salads, grains, and pastas. If you do not have the same level of lentil love, you could absolutely leave them out. I would not recommend leaving out the potatoes.
For the lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon herbs de provence
1 bay leaf
pinch of salt
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium. Add the garlic, and let saute until fragrant- about a minute. Combine with the red pepper flakes, herbs de provence, bay leaf, and salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the garlic starts to brown. Add the lentils, and stir until all are coated in oil. Add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, and then simmer until tender, between 20-40 minutes. Store in its broth.
For the salad:
2 small heads of lettuce or one medium head of lettuce, cleaned and roughly chopped
a large handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
at least half a dozen new potatoes
1/2 cup cooked lentils, drained
handful of crumbled cotija cheese (feta would also be excellent)
2 tablespoons red wine vinigar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
salt, to taste
Put a large pot on the stove with cold water and add the new potatoes. If you have more than half a dozen, you may as well cook them all now. Lightly salt the water and bring it to a boil. The potatoes will be done when you can, without resistance, insert a knife in and slide it out of a potato. Drain and set aside.
Set a small pot to boil. When the water is boiling, add the eggs and set a timer for exactly seven minutes. Once seven minutes have passed, drain the pot and run the eggs under cool water. Peel, and set aside.
Meanwhile, mix the vinegar, oil, and mustard. Taste, and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
Slice half a dozen new potatoes into quarters. In a large bowl combine the lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, lentils, and cotija. Toss with the dressing. Quarter the eggs, sprinkle with salt, place them on the salad, and eat.