2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 brown onion, peeled, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed
2 cups pure cream
1 whole nutmeg
1⁄2 cup French green lentils, rinsed
1 bunch chicory, thick stems removed, roughly chopped
50g grated gruyere
1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan
1. Heat oil and butter in a heavy-based frying pan over a very low heat until butter melts. Add onion and a pinch of sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1–2 hours or until onion is meltingly tender. Pour off excess oil (retain this beautifully flavoured oil for later use). Add garlic, cream and a few gratings of nutmeg. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until cream has noticeably thickened.
2. Preheat oven to 175°C. Cook lentils in a saucepan of unsalted boiling water for 15 minutes or until lentils are cooked but still have a little ‘bite’. Drain well. Spread lentils over base of a 4-cup capacity baking dish.
3. Blanch chicory in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 1 minute. Refresh under cold running water. Squeeze excess water from leaves.
4. Arrange chicory over lentils (ensure leaves are not too densely packed so that cream mixture can penetrate). Pour cream mixture over chicory.
5. Top with gruyere, parmesan and few gratings of nutmeg. Season with sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes or until top of gratin is bubbling and golden.