You know they are good for you, but the first problem with lentils is that they look like bed bugs.  If you have ever had bed bugs, you know what I’m talking about.  If you have never had bed bugs, and you’re wondering what those lentils are walking across your floor, those are bed bugs.  The second problem with a lentil is, it doesn’t taste good.  Boil up a pot of lentils with a little water and salt and you get yech, blech, eeyaaa, ptttt.  You have to work at it; you have to take on the challenge of transforming the lentil.  Think “Extreme Home Makeover”, or the first time you layered your hair, bought clothes that fit you and put on a little lipstick–who knew it was you?  There is always the curry route, or the Greek route–heavy on the tomato, stock and oregano, but I like the Tuscan route, which is a little bit of sass and a lot of (italian) soffritto.  Start with a better lentil.  I can tell you straight out that lentils from the area around Norcia in Italy, or the puy lentils of France are a million times better than our Jack Rabbit Version.  Get (a pound) them in a pot of cold water with a piece of tomato, a piece of onion, a clove of garlic, a spill of olive oil, a sprig of thyme, and a dash of salt,  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Cook until just tender, and then turn off the heat.  Meanwhile, saute a few cloves of whole garlic with a few sprigs of thyme, a sprig of parsely, two onions, six carrots and five (inside) celery stalks that have been finely chopped.  (I also like to use a whole, unchopped pepperoncino.)  Use plenty of a delicious olive oil.  You don’t want them swimming in the oil, but you don’t want to be stingy with it either.  Saute until completely softened, over a medium heat.  It will take about 25 minutes.  Combine with enough of the lentils so that it’s a good mix.  You might not need all of the lentils.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Use kosher salt or sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  Give it about a tablespoon of good quality red wine vinegar, a healthy spill of your best olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Let it sit for half an hour and taste again.  This is delicious served at room temperature with roasted or fresh tomatoes and a piece of grilled fish or chicken.  Watch how people come back for more.

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