This is a light midweek meal, super tasty and healthy (this recipe uses only a little oil for salsa and pan searing the fish) . The soft tender flaky Cod contrasts well with the crunchy grilled asparagus, fennel bulbs and lentils, giving the dish a wonderful depth of texture and flavour. It takes a small amount of organisation but everything can be done whilst the lentils cook. *Timing is everything when cooking fish so I urge you not to adhere to the cooking time suggestions on supermarket packaging… you will end up with lifeless overcooked dull fish.*
100g Puy Lentils – rinsed
Half medium size onion chopped finely
Half carrot chopped finely
1 small stick celery chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
300ml chicken or vegetable stock (I use Telma cubes)
Salt and Pepper
2 loins of Cod – the fresher the better
1 bulb fennel
1 punnet asparagus
handful of coriander, parsley chopped finely
2 tbsp red onion chopped finely
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp capers chopped
1/2 gherkin in sweet vinegar finely chopped
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. In a saucepan add lentils, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme sprigs and chicken stock – do not season at this stage and bring to the boil then lower to a simmer with a lid on for 20 -25 minutes.
2. Blanche the fennel bulbs for 4 minutes in boiling water and remove, set aside.
3. Prepare the green herb salsa by mixing the herbs, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, capers and seasoning in a bowl. Set aside. Place the asparagus and fennel onto a very hot griddle pan or skillet and char for 5-6 minutes turning a couple of times.
4. Once the lentils are done; heat a pan to a medium high heat and place the Cod in pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness). I only use a small amount of olive oil, but if you want a flavour boost drop in a knob of butter and spoon the bubbling butter over fish as it cooks.
5. Whilst the Cod cooks, spoon the lentils on the plate, then the asparagus. The Cod is placed on-top straight from the pan. Top the fish with a spoon of salsa and place the fennel bulb charred side facing outward and serve.
To keep up the healthy effort, finish off with a small bowl of yoghurt topped with berries and a little indulgent organic honey.