In preparation of the "Catch of the day" IMBB last Sunday, I have been cooking various fish dishes during the week preceding the big event, and here's another one for you. Salmon is one of my favourite fish when I'm after something substantial, but healthy - I buy thick cut salmon fillets mostly, cut from the head-end, so it's easier to cook to perfection, which for me is pink.
Now here's the bonus with salmon: you can really match it with any flavour and its soft and buttery consistency will stand up against and complement anything you have in mind: creamy leeks, spicy chorizo, even the more exotic Middle Eastern and subtler Asian ingredients.
My favourite pairings, however, tend to be on the (as Ducasse would call it) "terre et mer" side - here in the form of puy lentils and chorizo. It's the perfect combination of earthiness and subtlety, with the chorizo giving the puy lentils a lightly smoky touch and at the same time re-enforcing the freshness of the tomatoes. Lentils are of course an acquired taste (too many boarding school traumata?) but puy lentils are the ferrari of the lentils, really, and I can assure you that in this combination you're bound to love them.
Salmon on chorizo lentils, pan-fried tomatoes and sugarsnap peas
400 g thick organic salmon fillets (2 x 200)
2 tbsp olive oil
100 g puy lentils
100 g chorizo (cubed)
2 cloves smoked garlic (sliced)
1 tbsp thyme leaves
2 tomatoes (cut in wedges)
50 ml dry rosé wine (eg from the Languedoc)
1 handful basil leaves
200 g sugar snap peas
1 know butter (salted)
Cook the lentils in salt water for 15 - 20 minutes. In the meantime, fry the chorizo in a pan, add the garlic and thyme and cook until it's nicely browned. Add the drained lentils and set aside.
Fry the salmon in the olive oil, skin down first, until it starts to blacken. In the meantime, cook the sugar snap peas in some salt water, drain and refresh and return to their pan, with a knob of butter.
Turn the fish over and add the tomato wedges, deglaze with the wine and add the basil. Cook for 2 minutes, then reserve - the salmon should still be pink in the middle. Reheat the lentils and peas just before serving.
Enjoy with a rosé or light red from the Languedoc-Roussillon.