Simplicity is very important to me when it comes to workday dinners and lunches; while I will always have a soft place in my heart for recipes requiring patience and intricacy I am rarely in the mood to even consider them as dinner contenders after a long day of cheese selling. A meal such as this roasted tomato and French lentil salad is quintessentially easy; it’s very hands-off in terms of preparation, it tastes of caramelized summer tomato sweetness (whether you have summer tomatoes or not) and it keeps for up to 3 days in your fridge. The lentils are a speckled sea stone grey backdrop (my first time using French lentils from GRAIN definitely won’t be the last!) for glowing Campari tomatoes that have been roasted until brightly sweet. Campari tomatoes retain their shape better than other varieties I have experimented with although grape tomatoes become deliciously chewy due to their low moisture content. The flat-leafed parlsey is haphazardly cut into the mixture with scissors, creating bursts of roughly shredded spring green with minimal effort while adding a fragrant and clean foil for the roasted Campari tomatoes. This salad can be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled, I especially like devouring a large bowl of it with a glass of well chilled Beaujolais and some strawberries.
roasted tomato and french lentil salad:
1 cup of dried French lentils
7-10 Campari tomatoes, cut in half
An intensely green and fruity olive oil for drizzling
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, cut into smallish bits with scissors
2 shallots, cut into thin half moons
2 lemons, juiced
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Boil the lentils in salted water and begin checking for doneness after 15 minutes, they should be done at this point or may need another 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop any additional cooking from residual heat. Allow to drain completely.
2. While the lentils are cooking arrange the tomatoes on a baking tray cut side up on parchment or foil. For the roasting part of this recipe the oil doesn’t have to be the fruity olive oil, you can use a lighter olive oil or canola oil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, the salt will help draw the liquid out of the tomatoes. Roast for 30-40 minutes, you want the tomatoes to be slightly caramelized when they come out of the oven to ensure maximum tomato sweetness in the salad. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
3. When the tomatoes are cooled combine in whole pieces with the Puy lentils, shallots, parsley, lemon juice, the extra green olive oil and additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve at either room temperature or chilled for lunch or a light dinner with a cold glass of sweetish red wine and fruit.
Perfect accompaniment: bright and beautiful.
Bibio – Saint Christopher