This is one of those dishes that could be made midweek, or zhuzhed up on fancy dinnerware for an easy and impressive dinner party. We like to think of these lentils as a simple, very French classic recipe you should have in your repertoire as it’s a good base to serve alongside fish, meat, or simply kept with veg.
Photography: Suech and Beck
1 Acorn or Delica squash, thickly sliced
4 Tbsp good quality olive oil, divided
1 red onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry Puy lentils*, rinsed well
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 Sprigs fresh thyme
1L good quality chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 x 5oz pieces of center-cut salmon
1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt
Kosher salt and Ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 420F. Add the squash to a parchment lined baking tray and season with 1 tbsp olive oil, Kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, flipping halfway until they are golden and soft. Remove and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 400F.
2. In a medium saucepan over high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes until softened and the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and tomato paste, cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
3. Add the lentils along with one strip of the lemon peel. Cook for 2 minutes before adding 750mL of stock and juice from half the lemon. Stir through the parsley and add the thyme sprigs. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are soft to the bite, stirring occasionally. Add more stock if its being absorbed too quickly, but you want it a bit liquid.
4. Halfway through the cooking time, place the salmon onto a parchment lined baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 12-15 minutes until opaque and flakey.
5. When the lentils are cooked, stir through the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and butter. Zest the remaining lemon and stir through, seasoning to taste.
6. Serve the warm lentils with squash, roast salmon and a dollop of Greek yoghurt to swirl through.
*Le Puy lentils are small greenish lentils that hold their shape while cooking. Grown in the Puy region of France, they are known for their nutty flavour. There is no substitute for this lentil. You can often find them in grocery stores or speciality stores.