When I got back from hunting with a bag full of fresh Gyroporus cyanescens, one of the only boletes I prefer fresh to dried, this is what I made. It’s super simple, and just a snapshot of the simple European food I usually cook at home.
First you make a soffrito by finely chopping some bacon or ham with garlic, onion, celery, and herbs, which you sweat for a bit in olive oil. Then you add lentils, but not any lentils, really good lentils, and by really good I mean no brown, red, or any of the cheap kinds. From my experience, the only two types of lentils I would use for this are French lentils du puy, or Black beluga lentils, anything else just won’t taste the same, and there is definitely a difference in taste with lentils (I strongly dislike the brown ones for texture and flavor reasons).
Finally, you toss in a good handful of cherry tomatoes just to warm through, and top the whole thing with a pile of sauteed mushrooms, and plenty of olive oil. Add some crusty bread and a few slices of charcuterie and it’s a good summer meal.
Warm French Lentils with Sauteed Wild Mushrooms
- 2 cups cooked lentils du puy or black lentils
- Kosher salt to taste
- Good handful of parsley or preferably a mix of parsley, cilantro, lovage, dill, or other fresh garden herbs, plus extra for finishing
- 2 oz bacon
- Extra virgin olive oil as needed for cooking and extra for drizzling
- High heat cooking oil as needed for cooking the mushrooms, a tablepoon or two
- Fresh lemon wedges for serving
- Handful of fresh cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 oz Half a stalk of celery
- 2 oz shallot or onion
- 1 medium sized clove of garlic
- Dash of white wine
- 4 oz fresh mushrooms thickly sliced
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Finely mince the bacon, garlic, celery and shallot or onion, then sweat with some oil for a few minutes.
- Add the wine and cook off, then add the lentils and some of their reserved cooking liquid and simmer for a bit until the vegetables are soft. The pan should stay juicy, so add a little extra liquid if you need. Double check the seasoning and adjust to taste, then toss in a handful of halved cherry tomatoes at the end just to warm them through.
- Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of cooking oil in a pan and brown the mushrooms well, then season lightly to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve, toss the lentils with some of the extra herbs, a good drizzle of oil, and spoon the mushrooms over the top, passing the lemon wedges alongside. You can also serve them from a larger dish family style.