2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped

¾ cup lentils, preferably lentilles de Puy (French green lentils)

6 ounces thick cut bacon (5 slices), cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick strips

2 celery ribs, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 large eggs

1 cup baby spinach



1.Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, lift out and drain in a sieve.

2. Put lentils in a 2 quart saucepan, add cold water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until just tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Add leeks, celery and carrot to fat remaining in skillet and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and boil until most of it has evaporated. Remove skillet from heat and stir in tarragon, half of bacon and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a large bowl and over to keep warm. Set skillet aside.

4. Drain lentils well and stir into vegetable mixture. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm, covered.

5. Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Add oil and heat over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Break 4 eggs into skillet and fry until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a platter, season with salt and pepper and keep warm, covered, while you fry the remaining 4 eggs.

6. Divide lentil salad among four plates. Top with spinach and eggs and scatter remaining bacon over.


from Ruth Reichl (editor), The Gourmet Cookbook

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