This hearty salad is good chilled or at room temperature. Dressing the salad in advance gives the lentils time to imbibe the vinaigrette. Prepare and chill in a pretty serving bowl up to a day ahead; store the cooked pancetta separately in the refrigerator. Stir the salad well, and top with pancetta just before serving.
2 cups dried petite green lentils
2 bay leaves
4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
6 cups finely chopped red cabbage
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
How to Make It
Place lentils and bay leaves in a large saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above lentils; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes or until tender; drain. Discard bay leaves.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; sauté 2 minutes or until browned. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon. Add cabbage to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Combine the lentils and cabbage in a large bowl. Combine vinegar and the remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinaigrette over lentil mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with pancetta just before serving.