Beluga Lentils Braised in Red Wine
- ¼ cup mild tasting olive oil
- ½ cup finely diced carrots
- ½ cup finely diced celery
- ¾ cup finely diced yellow cooking onions
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 ¼ cups dried black or beluga lentils, rinsed in cold water and well drained
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup medium bodied Rioja wine
- 2 to 2 ½ cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
- 2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch small mustard greens, well washed and spun dry
Warm the olive oil in a 3 quart sauté pan or 4 quart saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add the carrots, celery, onions and a few pinches of salt. Stir for about 5 minutes, as the vegetables release their moisture and begin to hiss, add the lentils, bay leaf, thyme, the wine and about a cup of the water or stock. Raise the heat slightly to achieve a gentle simmer, then cook uncovered stirring as needed, as you would risotto and adding more water or stock as the last of each batch is just about absorbed, until the lentils are nutty –tender and bathed in their cooking liquid. You may not use all of the liquid. Allow about 30 minutes. Taste. If using water or unsalted stock, the lentils will need salt; if using lightly salted chicken stock they may need none.
Remove 1 cup of cooked lentils at this point, and set aside for the fritters.
Add the extra-virgin olive oil, the remaining braised lentils, and the mustard greens. Simmer for a few minute longer until greens are wilted and tender.
Serve immediately, or cool and reheat in a sauté pan with a little olive oil and water when ready to serve. In this case, reserve the mustard greens until the final cooking stage.
Pan Seared Snapper
- 4 6 oz portions of cleaned, trimmed and skinned red snapper fillets
- ¼ tsp saffron threads
- 2 tbsp course sea salt
- Olive oil
Place saffron threads on a small baking pan and toast very lightly in a medium low oven for five minutes, or until the threads are crunchy to the touch.
Combine salt and saffron in a mortar and pestle and grind well to a medium course texture.
Season each fillet on both sides with about ¼ tsp saffron salt, and allow to sit for 8 – 10 minutes.
Heat a scant amount of olive oil in a large non stick or caste iron pan. Place the fish fillets presentation side down in the pan and allow to sizzle over medium high heat for two - four minutes, or until they begin to colour.
Flip the fillets and place the pan into a medium – high oven (375°F) for about five minutes, or until the fish fillets are firm to the touch. Snapper fillets should be cooked through, but not overly cooked or they will be dry.
Place the fillets on a bed of braised lentils, sauce with the escabeche, garnish with two fritters per person and serve immediately.
Spicy Spot Prawn Escabeche
- 8 large spot prawns, head and shells removed, split lengthwise through and along the back
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large white onion, julienned
- 1 medium orange pepper, cored, seeded and julienned
- 1 medium yellow pepper, cored, seeded and julienned
- 3 tinned or fresh hot pequillo peppers, finely julienned
- ¼ tsp cracked red
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
Clean and split the prawns, salt lightly with kosher salt, and set aside.
Heat olive oil in 12 inch saute pan, add onions and peppers and cracked chillies. Season generously with salt and sauté until vegetables begin to soften and release their moisture, tossing and stirring frequently.
When vegetables are tender and soft add the shrimp. Toss and cook just until prawns lose their transparency and become more opaque. Remove from heat, stir in vinegar, taste and adjust seasoning to taste with more salt and/or vinegar.
Spoon over cooked snapper fillet, garnish with lentil fritter and serve immediately
Black Lentil Fritters
- 1 cup braised black lentils
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup chickpea flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
Combine ½ cup of the braised lentils with the ½ cup of water and puree in a blender, food processor, or with a hand immersion blender.
Combine chickpea flour, baking powder, and salt in a stainless steel bowl and mix well with a whisk. Whisk in the pureed lentils. Add unpureed braised lentils and until all is combined.
Heat oil in a deep skillet to 320°F – 350°F. If you do not have a deep fry thermometer test the oil by dropping a small drop of water into the oil. If it sizzles and pops, it is ready to fry.
Drop the lentil batter by tablespoons into the oil. Do not over crowd. When the fritters begin to colour on the sides, gently turn them over and fry the other side flipping occasionally until both sides are a golden brown. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.