2 large shallots, 1 halved, 1 finely diced (or two small onions)
4 sprigs of thyme
1 small bay leaf
1 cup dry small green lentils
1 small bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 pound small potatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced or smashed to a paste (I use less)
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of your favorite olive oil
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed if salted, drained if brined, and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cornichons or other sour gherkins, roughly chopped
1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Cook lentils: Pick over and rinse lentils. Place them in a small/medium saucepan with the halved shallot, thyme branches, bay leaf, some salt and 4 cups of water. Simmer the lentils over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until firm-tender. Drain (discarding shallot, thyme and bay leaf) and keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook potatoes: In a separate saucepan, cover potatoes with 1 to 2 inches cold water. Set timer for 15 minutes, then bring potatoes to a simmer. When the timer rings, they should be easily pierced with a toothpick or knife. Drain and keep warm.
Make the dressing: Place the chopped shallot and red wine vinegar in the bottom of a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in minced garlic, dijon, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and olive oil. Stir in chopped capers, cornichon and scallions.
Assemble salad: Slice potatoes into 1/2-inch segments and place in serving bowl. Add lentils, dressing and all but 1 tablespoon parsley and combine. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Scatter salad with remaining parsley.
Serve alone, with a soft-cooked egg on top, or as a side to a larger roast, chop or sausages.