This is one of my favourite ways of cooking green lentils, the consistency is so soft and creamy, it’s almost like a risotto, just using lentil instead of rice. Occasionally when we have it as a main dish, served just with broccoli rabe, I would add splash of cream at the end of cooking, but on this occasion I opted out.
PAN-FRIED SALMON & TOMATO-BRAISED LENTIL STEW
4 fillets of salmon
1/2 lemon (optional)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups green French lentils
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups stock (chicken or vegetable), plus some extra if needed
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
Handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Sweat the onions over a low heat for about 8 minutes until translucent, add the celery, garlic and cook another minute. Add the lentils, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and a splash of the stock. Increase heat to medium and stir occasionally until stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock and stirring occasionally until the lentils are just tender, about 30-35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, prepare the salmon. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the salmon skin-side down, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and squeeze over a little lemon juice. Fry for 2-3 minutes, then turn the salmon over and fry for a further 1-2 minutes, or until cooked through. Squeeze over a little more lemon juice and taste to check the seasoning. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Stir and check for taste the lentil stew. Stir in the basil leaves, then serve immediately with the salmon on top.