Jerusalem Artichokes with Lentils, Hazelnuts and Manouri
Jerusalem artichokes are super easy to roast and develop a beautiful caramel, nutty flavour when done well. I've used manouri in this recipe, which is a Greek goat/sheep milk cheese, is has the texture of a hard fetta but isn't salty. It's also slightly sour. If you can't find it, you could substitute it for firm ricotta.
500g Jerusalem Artichokes
2 tablespoons honey
Handful thyme sprigs
200g du puy lentils, soaked in cold water for a couple of hours.
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 bay leaves
1/2 chopped bunch parsley
100g hazelnuts, roasted
1 lemon, halved
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Flake salt and cracked black pepper
Start with the lentils. Saute the diced onion in a saucepan deep enough to cook the lentils with one tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook the onions out over a medium flame until they are golden brown, then stir in the garlic. The garlic should cook for only around 30 seconds before adding the lentils. Drain then stir in the lentils and saute briefly before pouring in two cups of water. Add the bay leaves and a couple of sprigs of thyme, bring this up to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cover with a lid. Once they are tender, around 15-20 mins, take them off the heat but leave them in the saucepan off to one side.
Heat the oven to 200C. Scrub the artichokes well, but don't peel unless they're really gnarly. Cut in half lengthwise and immediately rub the cut surface with half a lemon to stop it browning. Toss the artichokes in olive oil with salt and pepper, and arrange cut-side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until soft and golden.
Turn the artichokes cut-side up, and drizzle with honey and scatter thyme over them. Break the manouri up into small chunks and put that into the pan too. Bake for another five minutes.
Now that the lentils have cooled slightly check them for excess water. If there is a lot of water left in the pan, drain them. Season the lentils generously with vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and stir through the chopped parsley.
Arrange half of the artichokes on a plate, followed by half of the lentils. Repeat, forming a sort of mounted salad. Roughly chop the roasted hazelnuts and sprinkle them over the top of the dish to finish. Eat while still warm.