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Crisp Skin Salmon with Spiced Lentils

ISSUE 15 ARCHIVE - COOKING THE CATCH: CRISP SKIN SALMON WITH SPICED LENTILS

Andrew Maxwell

So here’s a dilemma – I run my own business, and rule number one is that we have to make a profit. As long as we are making a profit, survival is ensured and eventually we can look at expanding and doing all sorts of other things that we’ve talked about for years but never quite got around to.

If someone asked me to take my best selling product and scrap it, I’d tell them to F(oxtrot) O(scar). So, fair play to the owners of Harbour Lights fish and chip shop in Falmouth, which made headlines recently for taking its bestselling dish off the menu, in an attempt to persuade its customers to try an alternative to cod. That takes balls... MASSIVE ETHICAL BALLS.

Harbour Lights is one of just a few fish and chip shops to be MSC certified and I believe it is the only one in Devon or Cornwall. They only accept cod from sustainable fisheries anyway, so in a sense, there was no need for them to take this decision, nonetheless, they dropped the species as a way of highlighting the problem of overfishing... and it has worked. They have seen an increase in the profile of alternatives such as whiting and pollock. “Well done”, I say. If they can do it and continue to trade successfully, then so can the rest of the UK’s chippies.

Moving on to more foodie/cooking type things... I was deeply angered by the recent scare tactics employed by the powers that be in Whitehall, who proudly announced
that they have discovered that almost all oysters contain the norovirus. It was only when you delved deeper into the articles that it was revealed that in actual fact, this has always been the case, it is just that they have discovered that the virus is dormant in most oysters. But it’s ok they tell us... all they are trying to do is give us a better understanding of the virus. Oh well, that’s great... you’ve got a nuclear bomb buried in your guts, but it’s okay because it’s dormant so you’ve got nothing to worry about...

Bloody men in suits. Shut up and let me eat my oysters in peace.

Crisp Skin Salmon with Spiced Lentils

Here’s a nice bit of norovirus-free salmon for you:

For the salmon:

4 x 100g fillets of salmon

For the spiced lentils:

100g (4oz) puy lentils


pinch ground cumin


40g (11⁄2oz) red onions, finely chopped

25ml (1fl.oz) balsamic vinegar


1 clove garlic, crushed


20g (3⁄4oz) pickled ginger (sushi ginger)

For the herb crème fraîche:

100ml (31⁄2fl.oz) crème fraîche

1 tbsp finely chopped chives

salt and black pepper


25ml (1fl.oz) corn oil

25ml (1fl.oz) soy sauce

1tbsp tomato ketchup

2tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2tbsp olive oil

1tsp chopped coriander

lemon juice to taste


1t bsp finely chopped parsley lime juice to taste

To make the spiced lentils:

Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with boiling water, cook for 30 minutes or until just tender. Drain and set aside. (Be careful not to overcook them as you will end up with lentil puree).

Place the cumin in a saucepan and heat gently to release the flavour. Add the onions, vinegar and garlic and cook over a moderate heat for 10 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and the cooked lentils and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding enough lemon juice to make it taste sharp. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. The lentils may be chilled overnight or for up to four days.

For the herb crème fraîche:

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl adding lime juice, salt and black pepper to taste.

To serve:

Re-heat the lentils or serve at room temperature. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and cook the salmon skin side down until crisp. Turn over and cook the second side. Leave to stand for a minute or two then serve on the lentils with the herbed crème fraiche. (For a more healthy option, you could steam the salmon, although it won’t be crispy).

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