3/4 cup dried lentils (about 4 1/2 ounces), preferably imported lentilles du Puy (green lentils)
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups cold water
4 small to medium potatoes (3/4 pound), washed
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and finely chopped (2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup chopped fresh herb mixture (parsley, basil, savory, and tarragon)
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the lentils and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a large saucepan with the cold water. Bring to a boil, cover, and boil gently for 45 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Set the pan off the heat, and let the lentils cool for 15 minutes at room temperature. (Most of the liquid should have evaporated.)
2. Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and cook the potatoes gently, uncovered, for about 35 minutes (replacing water as needed to keep the potatoes covered) or until tender when pierced with the point of a knife. Drain the water, and let the potatoes cool to lukewarm.
3. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them crosswise into 3/8-inch thick slices, and place them in a bowl. Add the lentils, and combine them gently with the potatoes. Add the onion, garlic, herbs, scallions, olive oil, vinegar, pepper, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and mix just well enough to combine well.
4. Transfer the salad to a large platter. Serve it immediately, while still warm, with 3/4-inch-thick slices of Walnut Sausage (see link) arranged on top, if desired.
Sausage is a class accompaniment for potato salad and is often served with lentils, so Jacques Pepin suggests serving this herb-flavored salad with Walnut Sausage (see link). If you can’t find lentilles du Puy, substitute another dried lentil in this dish.