- 120g Puy lentils, picked over for stones or foreign bodies and rinsed well
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1 large shallot, finely sliced
- 2 sticks celery, finely chopped, leaves and all
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed of fronds and outer layers, and finely chopped
- 1 fat garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 175ml fruity red wine
- 200ml well-flavoured fish stock
- half a bottle of fruity red wine
- A bouquet garni of parsley, thyme and bay
- 2 thick middle cut salmon fillets, about 200g each
- Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- a tablespoon of Bordeaux red wine vinegar
- a heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- Let the washed lentils drain while you soften the shallot, celery and fennel in 2 tbs of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so. Now tip in the lentils and give everything a stir.
- Mix the wine and the stock and add to the lentils, along with the bouquet garni. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 25 minutes. The lentils should retain some bite. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7.
- On the hob, heat up a shallow, non-stick pan that will go in the oven. Anoint the salmon fillets (not the pan) liberally with the remaining oil and season well. Carefully place them in the hot pan and let them sear, undisturbed for two minutes before gently flipping them over with a fish slice and spatula. Don't force them or half your dinner will be stuck to the pan in the most horrible way.
- Don an oven glove and transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking. Depending on thickness. 7-8 minutes should be plenty.
- The lentils should now be done. Lift them out of the pan and return it to the heat to reduce and concentrate the juices, tasting as you go. Season the lentils while they are still hot. Add black pepper with the mustard and the vinegar, then check to see if they need more salt.
- Spoon the lentils, along with the soupy liquor, into shallow bowls and top each with a salmon fillet. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.
A down-to-earth feast that’s rather good with digestible reds like fruity, merlot-dominant claret, or a lightish red Burgundy like Sylvain Pataille's lovely Marsannay or a spätburgnder.