I furrowed my brow – how dare she go to BLD for brunch without us? And, more importantly, how dare she have other friends who are not Sarah, Lauren or me? Who were these people? I wondered. And what did they want with my wise-cracking, similarly poorly-cuticled friend?
“Jealous!!” I e-mailed back.
And I was a little bit. Though mostly because I was feeling nostalgic for the fun we’d had at BLD the previous weekend when we’d bucked all responsibility in the name of mimosas, diet destruction and shoe shopping. I wasn’t actually all that heartbroken that I was missing out on the blueberry ricotta goodness – even when Sook taunted, “I’ll order the pancakes in ur honor.”
She’s nice like that.
I ignored her goading response, and smiled to myself. Let her eat her pancakes, I thought snidely, turning my focus to the version of BLD’s warm lentil salad that I was planning to make at home for lunch. I didn’t need a fancy restaurant or fancy cloth napkin or a fancy mimosa to have nice brunch.
While I would have preferred swapping gossip and pancake bites with my girl friends (bucking responsibility is one of my favorite pastimes), the homemade lentil salad was just as good as the one I enjoyed at BLD the previous weekend. The pan-fried bacon bits added just the right kick of salty flavor, and my use of oven-roasted grape tomatoes rather than raw cherry tomato halves added a subtle sweet dimension to the salad.
Plus, I didn’t have to feel self-conscious about using my fingers to pick up the stray lentils that were unattainable with my fork. Or going back to the kitchen for a second egg. Of course, I’m fairly certain that my poorly-cuticled friend would have found these responsibility-bucking activities completely acceptable. Which is probably why I like eating pancakes and drinking mimosas with her so much to begin with.
Warm Lentil Salad w/ Fried Egg and Sherry Vinaigrette
Based on dish at BLD Restaurant
1/3 cup dried green/French lentils, rinsed and picked over for quality
7 grape tomatoes, halved
1 small shallot, sliced into thin rings
1 slice bacon, chopped into rectangular pieces
Handful of arugula
1 tablespoon Pecorino Romano, grated
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt, pepper to taste
Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients, tasting for balance. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tomato halves in a glass baking dish with the inner side face up. Sprinkle with sea salt and roast in the oven until shriveled in appearance – approximately 30-40 minutes. Add shallots to the roasting dish after the tomatoes have been in for 10 minutes.
While tomatoes and shallots are roasting, rinse the lentils, and bring a pot of water to boil. Add the lentils to the pot, return to a slow boil and then partially cover with a lid. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Drain, return to pot, and add the roasted tomatoes and shallots. Simmer together on the lowest possible heat while preparing the bacon and fried egg.
Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high. Add the bacon pieces and saute until they have released their fat and are crispy. Remove, and set aside. While pan is still hot, crack the egg into the center and fry until white has set and yolk has reached desired doneness (I recommend leaving it a bit runny).
As the egg is cooking, line the bottom of your plate with arugula, toss the crispy bacon bits and 1 tablespoon of the dressing in with the lentils, and serve over the arugula. Top the lentils with the fried egg and Pecorino Romano cheese.