Friday, March 14, 2008

Lentils. Fish. Salsa

That's right, today I am extolling the virtues of 1. eschewing carbs in favour of pulses 2. matching paw paw with fish. Excellente.

So, first, lentils - my humble little friends. This dish features probably my favourite lentil - the lentille verte. Like puy, but cheaper (I know this might be considered philistine in some circles but I'm not really sure I get the point of puy lentils. They just taste the same as lentilles vertes to me, for twice the price, but there we go). I don't see how you could fail to be charmed by these mini green pebbles of goodness. They are full of an earthy, satisfying flavour. And easy to cook to boot.

Now, let's introduce our fish of the day. Chosen mainly because for value for money reasons, he's the exotically named tilapia. A good choice it turned out - sweet white flesh, nice and firm.

And finally, salsa! I love the sweetness of pawpaw and the zing of lime - fresh and sweet and spicy and how nice to have all that colour on the plate - orange and red and purple and green....

Put it all together and you have a really good light dinner dish. I really think with lentils and fish you don't need any extra rice or potato or bread or whatever - this was plenty for us.

Tilapia Fillets with Pawpaw Salsa and Lentille Vertes
(serves 2)

Put 1/2 cup of lentilles vertes in a pan with a cup of water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes until soft but still with a touch of bite. Season with salt and pepper to taste (add a bayleaf too if you have one). Top up with water as needed, and give an occasional stir to stop any sticking to the pan.
Meanwhile, make your salsa. Seed and dice one pawpaw and about 6 ripe cherry tomatoes. Finely slice 1/4 red onion, and some fennel stalks, if you happen to have a fennel lying around (nice but non-essential).

Put these all in a bowl together, and add a handful of chopped coriander (cilantro), a finely chopped fresh red chilli, the juice of two limes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to mix.

When your lentils are just about ready dust a plate with some flour, salt and pepper, and coat two Tilapia filets on both sides. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan until hot to hold your hand over it.

Cook the fish on both sides for a few minutes until nicely golden brown, firm to the touch, and flaking cleanly when inserted with a fork.

Serve with extra lime


Little Sister Saucepan said...

Inspired by this I cooked lentils last night, but with a Lebanese toasted rice, raw tomatoes, coriander, fried onions and celery and some greek yoghurt. The dressing was lime juice, olive oil, salt and my favourite, pomegranate molasses. Lentils truly are yummy and filling and I think I will have to try your recipe soon!

Little Sister Saucepan said...

I cooked this last night, but with mango rather than papaya, which worked very well. Plus I oven cooked the fish in foil to avoid making my kitchen smell too much. But the lentils were yummy with the salsa and fish!