Pan fried sea bass with lemon scented Beluga lentils
By: Lorna RhodesServes: 4
As a child I wasn’t very keen on pulses. My Polish grandmother used to cook various peasant style dishes with dried beans which unbeknown to me then were highly nutritious. Thank goodness we grow out of the childish fads, as it would be a shame not to enjoy the variety of pulses available today.
Two years ago I was attending the huge Food Marketing Institute show in Chicago (similar to IFE) when I came across a small stand with a selection of pulses. The one which caught my eye was Beluga lentils, which is grown in the cool dry climate of America’s northern plains. So I asked for a bag and brought them back to the UK, as I thought it would be perfect for Merchant Gourmet who market the well know Puy lentils.
Beluga lentils keep their fantastic dark colour and shape to look like caviar, from which their name derives. They do not need soaking and cook in about 20 minutes, so are perfect for a quick meal. Any left over lentils can be eaten cold as a salad, just drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and add some freshly chopped herbs.
The recipe devised is a delicious way to cook the lentils to be eaten on their own but the suggested accompaniment of sea bass is a modern trend which elevates the dish to new heights. Other fish could easily be substituted such a cod, salmon or sea bream fillets.
250g Beluga lentils
2 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
450ml vegetable stock
3 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 tbsp snipped chives
4 fillets sea bass
2 tbsp seasoned flour
2 tbsp olive oil (try using lemon infused extra virgin olive oil)
1. Put the lentils in a sieve and rinse under cold water.
2. Heat the oil in a deep sauté pan, add the shallots and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until softened.
3. Mix in the lentils then add the stock, bring to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, dust the sea bass in seasoned flour. Coarsely grate the zest from the lemon and squeeze the juice.
5. Stir the tomatoes and lemon zest into the lentils and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes until the lentil are tender. Finally add the lemon juice and chives and season if needed.
6. To cook the fish heat a large heavy frying pan, add the olive oil then add the fish and cook skin side down for 3 minutes until crispy, then turn them over and cook a further 2 minutes.
Serve immediately with the warm lentils. (If using other varieties of fish cook according to their thickness.)
© Recipe copyright 2003 Lorna Rhodes