Black Lentil Salad with Roasted Tomatoes ans Smocked Scamorza
Here’s the first thing you should make when you want to show off the peak-season tomatoes you’ve been waiting all year for. Season tomatoes in the summer have a magical pull. One minute you’re strolling through the farmers market; the next you’re walking around balancing six precious pints of colorful little orbs. They are sweet, juicy flavor bombs that don’t need a lot of work to stand out in a recipe.
Let’s Talk Tomatoes
No other fruit represents sunny days, warm nights, and the sweet life of summer better than tomatoes. At the market, summer tomatoes come in various shapes, sizes, and even colors. They seduce our eyes with their beautiful reds, sunny yellows, and generously rounded forms ; and please our palates with their refreshingly juicy and sweet pulp. The seedy fruit develops its divine aromas under the hot summer sun only ; and pale winter tomatoes from glasshouses simply can’t compare in aroma nor texture.
Tomatoes are not really hard to pair with wine
Although raw tomatoes are often said to be too acidic to pair with wine, the ripeness level and the chosen preparation method play a major role in turning tomatoes into palate-friendly wine pairings. Once again, heat will make a difference.
In fact, Cahors Malbec and ripe summer tomatoes have many things in common: juicy fruitiness ; a pulpy texture, balanced sugar, and acidity levels, mellow herbal notes ; a soft tannic structure ; and, most importantly, generous umami flavor. Umami, known as the 5th taste dimension in Japanese cuisine, can be described as a vertical aromatic depth ; created by abundantly savory-salty or savory-sweet flavors that intensify a taste experience.
Tomatoes are one of these vegetables that you should cook instead of eating raw
Botanically classified as a berry and therefore categorized as a fruit, tomatoes are commonly used as a vegetable, due to the hearty umami flavors. The longer they ripen on the vine in the summer heat, the more intense these umami flavors become. A carpaccio, made from very ripe summer tomatoes, topped with nothing but a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, and black pepper, is a great example to understand how savory this fruit can taste in its original state. However, cooking will concentrate the umami taste even further.
Slow roasting or braising are the best techniques to gently dehydrate the tomato, caramelize the sugars, concentrate and enhance the aromas ; and ultimately turn tomatoes into intensely savory and herbal-sweet bites of goodness.
Braised tomato, roasted tomato, tomato confit, half-dried tomato, or dried tomato ; as long as they aren’t marinated in vinegar or salty brines, cooked tomatoes are all fantastic pairings with the pure, fruit-driven expressions of young AOC Cahors wines.
Spices do more than just season your food
By seasoning your tomato recipes with mediterranean herbs, such as thyme or rosemary, you can add yet another aromatic link between the dish and Cahors wines ; which often develop herbal, ethereal notes as they begin aging after 2 or 3 years in the bottle.
Serving full-flavored, roasted, or braised tomatoes alongside grilled or pan-seared red meats ; you may even choose Cahors wines that have aged in oak barrels for short period and provide a slightly stronger tannic structure and more complexity, all while remaining fruity and soft in texture.
Here’s How to Make a Black Lentil Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Smoked Scamorza
Serve warm or cold, as a starter or main dish
Ingredients for 4-6 portions:
- 250 g black beluga lentils
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 7-8 sprigs of parsley
- 4 cloves of black garlic, cut into thin slices
- 12 medium firm tomatoes on the vine (or 24 cherry tomatoes on the vine)
- 2 big heirloom tomatoes of different colors
- 1/2 smoked scamorza cheese
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Put the beluga lentils into a saucepan and cover with cold water until the water is about 2 inches above the lentils. Add a teaspoon of salt and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat once the water boils, and simmer slowly for about 20 to 25 minutes until the lentils are al dente.
- Meanwhile, chop the parsley, add to a small bowl and stir in two tablespoons of olive oil.
- Drain the lentils when they are ready, rinse them with cold water for a few seconds, then transfer them into a bowl. Add the parsley olive oil and sea salt to taste, mix well, and set aside to cool.
- Rinse and dry off all tomatoes. Gently rub the medium-sized tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes) on the vine with one tablespoon of olive oil, making sure to cover them fully and leave the stems intact. Separate bunches of 2-3 tomatoes to allow even cooking, and spread the bunches out in a lightly oiled baking dish.
- Heat your oven to 120°C. Slowly bake the tomatoes for 45 to 50 minutes and keep an eye on them – the goal is to shrink them and concentrate flavors without bursting. If you spot cracks on the skins, drop the temperature by 10 degrees. They’re ready when they have wilted by approximately 1/3 in size. Leave to cool off completely.
- Using a mandolin or a good knife, cut the smoked scamorza cheese into very thin slices – the thinner they are, the better the taste.
- Cut the heirloom tomatoes into thin slices and place a few slices on each plate. Add a few spoonfuls of the beluga lentil salad, place some of the scamorza to the side, and top everything with the roasted tomatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and some freshly cracked pepper to finish.
Wine recommendation :
A Cahors wine of 3 to 5 years that has been aged in big oak casks or ovoid tanks for up to 12 months, will add balance, gentle tannins, and elevated complexity with first maturation notes to the dish, backing up the earthy notes of the black lentils without overpowering the roasted tomatoes.
Recipe, Wine selection and Pictures by Gouttes & goûts