This is a great dish to bring to a potluck dinner — it holds up well and absorbs even more flavor as it sits. Add the mozzarella and the garnishes to the platter just before serving.
Lentil Salad with Mozzarella & Prosciutto
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups (9 oz./280 ml.) green French (du Puy) lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) red wine vinegar
2 Tbs. minced red onion
1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g.) julienned fresh basil leaves, plus small whole leaves for garnish
1/4 lb. (125 g.) paper-thin prosciutto slices, cut into strips 1 inch (2.5 cm.) wide
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
5 oz. (155 g.) fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into generous pieces
In a saucepan, combine 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l.) water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add the lentils, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain well. Let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, using a fork, stir together the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the onion, the julienned basil, and all but one-fourth of the prosciutto. Add the oil in an thin stream, stirring constantly until the dressing is well blended. Add the lentils and toss to mix.
Spoon the lentils onto a platter. Tuck the cheese into the lentils. Sprinkle the basil leaves and the remaining prosciutto over the lentils and serve. Serves 6.
Find more creative and colorful salads in our cookbook Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan.