Sunday, February 3, 2013

Black Lentils & Grilled Swordfish

Black Lentils, Shaved Fennel, Cherry Tomatoes and Green Beans with Grilled Swordfish and a Salsa of Preserved Lemon, Capers & Tomato

The natural beauty of food. Pale white shaved fennel, bright red cherry tomatoes and green beans contrast with the dark, glistening lentils in this healthy gourmet salad. Mediterranean flavors of preserved lemon, fresh basil, and ripe tomatoes mingle with the hearty taste of black lentils, fried onions, and crushed garlic.

I like a little kick of spice in this salad. You can use chilli flakes or better yet: a hearty, spiced sausage. Like chorizo, or as I did here: fiery red, spicy Nduja from Calabria.

Black lentils are also called beluga lentils, because of their striking resemblance to caviar when cooked. Nutrition-wise, lentils are low in fat, high in protein and fiber. They cook quick and have a rustic, earthy flavor.

This black lentil salad is excellent on its own. I have made it before with scallops, and another time with grilled halloumi for a vegetarian meal. This time I served it for dinner with grilled swordfish and a salsa aromatic with preserved lemon, capers, tomato and basil. 

A spicy kick works wonderful with the black lentils. I still had some Nduja from Calabria that I used
preserved lemon gives this salad a refreshing taste
Black Lentils with Grilled Swordfish and a Salsa of Preserved Lemon, Capers and Tomato
(recipe for 2-3)

2-3 swordfish steaks
200 gr black lentils, rinsed
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bulb fennel, shaved thin
200 gr French beans (haricots verts) and/or mangetouts, cooked
1 clove garlic, crushed
Spicy sausage like chorizo (or if you have it: Nduja), or chilli flakes, to taste
olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
1 small or 1/4 large preserved lemon, skin only, sliced thin
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp capers
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
4-5 basil leaves, shredded
1/2 cup olive oil
fresh lemon juice (to taste)
salt/pepper to taste

  • For the salsa, mix all ingredients together in a bowl, add olive oil and lemon juice to taste, as well as salt and pepper. Leave to infuse until ready to use.
  • Cook the lentils in ample water (unsalted) until soft, yet still have a bite (takes about 20-30 minutes, but keep your eye on them after 20 minutes). Drain and rinse.
  • In the meantime, toss the shaved fennel with a squirt of lemon juice, a few drops of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Leave for about 15 min or longer: it softens the texture of the fennel.
  • In a casserole, heat a tbsp of olive oil to medium hot. Add the sliced onions and stir fry over low to medium heat until the onions are browning slightly. Add the spicy sausage and stir for about 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and cherry tomatoes. Stir to mix all the flavors. Add seasoning to taste. Off heat, mix in the green beans and shaved fennel. You can serve the salad either hot, (luke) warm or even chilled.
  • Season the swordfish and grill (either pan grill or on the BBQ) to your liking. Serve topped with the salsa over the lentil salad.
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