A Friday afternoon, a trip to the market, a visit to the fishmonger's stall... a meal to remember. There was sooo much gorgeous fish to choose from but only 3 meals in the weekend! I had to decide. I settled on a couple of hake steaks (they looked fantastically fresh!), some tiny baby octopuses and a couple of rainbow trout.
When we got home I decided I was really in the mood to cook the hake and I was soon trawling the web for a recipe to guide me. The search was made especially easy because I knew I wanted to have lentils with the fish. The recipe I found, from Delicious magazine (via Channel 4) is reproduced below (and includes my recipe for spring greens, an inspired addition):
Roast cod on spiced Puy lentils
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
2 tsp mild curry powder
4 x 200g pieces thick cod fillet (I used hake steaks)
For the spiced Puy lentils:
275g Puy lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium-hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp fresh chicken stock
Lemon juice, to taste
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Low-fat natural yogurt, cayenne pepper and fresh coriander sprigs, to garnish
For the spring greens:
Enough spring greens for 4 people
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
100 g panchetta or bacon, cubed
3-4 tbsp water
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 220°C
Make the spiced lentils: Cook the lentils in a pan of simmering water for 20 minutes, or until tender.
The spring greens were an inspiration and they worked very well with this dish. Prepare them now:
1. Rinse and dry the spring greens and cut them into 1 cm wide strips.
2. Heat a large sauté pan and add the olive oil, garlic and panchetta. Saute until the panchetta is lightly cooked but not browned, around 3 minutes.
3. Add the greens to the pan and use some tongs to lift and turn them in the oil/pancetta mixture, to coat.
4. Turn the heat to medium, sprinkle the greens with salt and pepper, add the water and cover.
5. Cook over medium heat, checking to make sure the greens don't dry out (add water, if necessary) for around 10 minutes or until the greens are limp.
For the cod (or hake!):
1. Once the lentils are ready, mix the olive oil for the fish with the curry powder.
2. Brush the oil and curry powder all over the cod and season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat an ovenproof frying pan over a medium-high heat.
4. Grease the pan with a little oil and add the cod, meaty-side down.
5. Fry for 2 minutes until light golden in colour.
6. Turn over and and immediately transfer the pan to the hot oven. Roast for 5 minutes.
Once the fish is in the oven, finish preparing the lentils:
1. Drain the lentils.
2. Heat the oil in a clean pan. Add the garlic, chilli and cumin.
3. Once sizzling, stir in the lentils, onion and stock, until warmed through.
4. Add lemon juice and seasoning to taste. Stir in the coriander.
Spoon lentils onto warmed plates, top these with spring greens and perch the cod on top of the mound to achieve an artistic effect. Garnish with coriander sprigs and a dollop of yoghurt.
Serve, with additional yogurt in a separate bowl, inviting your dinner guests to help themselves.
Enjoy shopping, cooking AND friends!