Castelluccio Lentils with Tomatoes and Gorgonzola
Castelluccio lentils from Umbria are tiny brownish jewels with a delicate flavour and a wonderfully tender texture. Like Puy lentils, they don’t disintegrate in the cooking, which makes them ideal for salads. You can get them from some Italian delis, or use Puy instead. This substantial dish, which is best eaten at room temperature, can be served on its own or with steamed seasonal greens such as broccolini or baby fennel.
|1||small red onion, very thinly sliced|
|1 tbsp||good-quality red wine vinegar|
|1 tsp||Maldon sea salt|
|3 tbsp||olive oil|
|1||garlic clove, crushed|
|3 tbsp||chopped chervil (or parsley)|
|3 tbsp||chopped chives|
|4 tbsp||chopped dill|
|80g||mild Gorgonzola, cut into rough chunks|
|For the oven-dried tomatoes:|
|400g||plum tomatoes (about 5)|
|1 tbsp||olive oil|
|2 tbsp||thick balsamic vinegar|
Start by making the oven-dried tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 130°C/Gas Mark ½. Quarter the tomatoes vertically and place skin-side down on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Arrange the thyme sprigs on top of them. Drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with some salt. Roast for ½ hours, or until semi-dried. Discard the thyme and allow to cool down slightly.
Meanwhile, place the red onion in a medium bowl, pour over the vinegar and sprinkle with the Maldon salt. Stir, then leave for a few minutes so the onion softens a bit.
Place the lentils in a pan of boiling water (the water should come 3cm above the lentils) and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Drain well in a sieve and, while still warm, add to the sliced onion. Also add the olive oil, garlic and some black pepper. Stir to mix and leave aside to cool down. Once cool, add the herbs and gently mix together. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, pile up the lentils on a large plate or bowl, integrating the Gorgonzola and tomatoes as you build up the pile. Drizzle the tomato cooking juices on top and serve.