Arugula Salad with French Lentils, Smoked Chicken, and Roasted Peppers
The lentils can be made up to a day in advance and the salad assembled at the last minute. Poached or grilled chicken breast would produce equally appetizing results.
- 1/2 pound French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
- One 14 1/2-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth, or homemade, skimmed of fat
- 1 cup water
- 4 sprigs thyme, plus 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
- 6 ounces baby arugula (about 6 cups)
- 6 ounces smoked skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into matchsticks
In a medium saucepan, combine lentils, broth, water, and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside in a bowl to cool.
While lentils are cooking, roast red peppers over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning occasionally, until blackened. Place in a heat-proof bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until cool. Peel and seed peppers, and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Place strips in a small saucepan with 1/2 tablespoon oil; cover, and cook gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until meltingly tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside, and let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together vinegars, salt, thyme leaves, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil until blended. Add half of dressing to lentils, and toss to coat. Add arugula, chicken, and cooled pepper strips to remaining dressing, and toss. Season both salads with salt and pepper. Arrange lentils into mounds on each of six salad plates, form a well in the center of each, and fill with arugula mixture.