Salmon ‘chanted evening… you may eat a lentil!
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Some enchanted evening you may see a stranger
You may see a stranger across a crowded room
And somehow you know, you know even then
That somewhere you’ll see her again and again
Sounds a bit like stalking to me…
This recipe is adapted from an old family favourite recipe by the late Mireille Johnston from her French Cookery Course book (and 1990s BBC TV series). She pan-fried the salmon giving it a delicious crust (as did my father) but, in these more health-conscious days (seriously – have you seen the recipes on this blog? Ed) I oven-roast the fish instead. I also add diced zucchini/courgettes to the lentil mix to lighten it and add a different texture. Puy lentils are essential as they hold their shape after cooking and don’t turn to mush. Seek out some pink peppercorns – they make the dish for me, and look great too!
Rinse and cook the lentils as per the packet instructions, including the herbs and garlic in the water (do NOT salt the water as this won’t help the lentils soften). After about 10 minutes, check the lentils and if they are starting to soften, I take this as a cue to start cooking the fish (lentils will take another 6-8 minutes or so – or longer, depending on how old they are). Lay the seasoned salmon fillets on a lined baking tray and bake in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until cooked. Meanwhile, sauté the chopped shallots in some of the olive oil and add the zucchini/courgette.
When the lentils are cooked, drain and set aside, stirring through a little olive oil. Once the vegetables are cooked, stir through the cream and season well (enough seasoning for the lentils, so don’t be too shy with the salt at this stage). Gently stir the creamy vegetable sauce into the lentils (using a fork is best so as to not break up the lentils). Serve the lentils with a salmon fillet and a garnish of the pink peppercorns and present it to that stranger you’ve been stalking all this time.