Thursday, 25 January 2007
I'm keeping on the fish theme at the moment. I've said this before, but we don't eat enough fish in this country. If I can get the fish message through to my little one at an early age, hopefully it will register. The same goes for you, just ensure that the fish is as fresh as can be. I can guarantee a rejection if it smells fishy and the only way it will smell this way is if it is not fresh. That goes for adult fish haters too, it is a myth that fish is fishy all of the time!
Last night we made a very colourful and vibrant dish that looked restaurant standard. A pile of beautiful Puy lentils, those mini stone-like gems that are the best of the legumes when cooked properly, combined with classic salsa ingredients and topped with a succulent sea bass, crispy skin-side up. A quarter of lime and some coriander on the side made it look a very classy dish indeed, far too classy for the little food experimenter.
If you are serving this to your friends or family, keep it looking classy. But I recommend you give everything a good mash or mix when presenting to your kids as there is a good chance they will prod at the fish, scoop it aside, take one look at the lentils and then want to get immediately out of the high chair. Again, keep persevering without losing your loaf, these are new flavours. Some might say that this is far too adult for your child but I disagree with that opinion in any circumstance. You don't hear the parents in Asia saying that when they are feeding their children the most adult of flavours that lurk within a great curry. Keep the faith and keep encouraging.
Fish with a Puy Lentil Salsa
To serve 2 adults and 1 child
2x Fish fillets of choice, skin on (we used sea bass but any firm white fish will do)
For the salsa
50g Puy lentils well washed
2x large tomatoes chopped into dice or a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes halved
2x spring onions sliced
1x red onion cut finely
1x Red chilli (necessary for an authentic salsa but ensure all the seeds are out) cut finely
1x heaped teaspoon soft brown sugar
2x Tbs red wine vinegar
1 - Place the washed lentils into a saucepan of cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check rather than going for these times though, you must ensure a bite without it being under or over cooked.
2 - Drain and place into a large bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil whilst hot and coat.
3 - Combine all of the salsa ingredients with the lentils and stir. Taste for seasoning.
4 - Slash the fish fillets on the skin side and season. Pan fry skin side down until the skin is crisp, no more than 5 minutes. Flip and finish for a further 2 minutes.
5 - Serve onto a pile of Puy lentil salsa with a wedge of lime and more freshly scattered coriander.
6 - For the kids, chop and mix it. up.