A basic simple lentil salad that couldn't be more satisfying, especially on a warm afternoon. The only trick is to season and re-season the lentils as needed and enjoy at just below room temperature. If you plan to keep them in the fridge for 2 or 3 days you may need to add more salt before serving. Cafe Drake's recipe is a simplified version of one appearing in Thomas Keller's cookbook Bouchon.
Rinse well 1 cup French (Le Puy) lentils and add to a saucepan, covering with water by 2 inches. Toss in a bay leaf and 5 or 6 peeled, whole cloves of garlic. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a very gentle simmer - overboiling will cause the lentils to break open. Cook for roughly 25 minutes or until lentils are tender but still slightly firm. Remove pan from heat and add about 2 t. salt and 2 t. red wine vinegar. Allow the lentils to cool in the liquid for an hour or so.
When ready, drain lentils in a colander and gently toss with the vinaigrette as below. Just before serving stir in a good bit of tiny diced red onion and minced chives.