An Unlikely Dinner

This wasn't going to be a blog post, as I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner last night, so there aren't many photos of the prep, sorry. Although, it's not the prettiest of dishes anyway, so maybe it will appreciate the lack of photographs and prefer to be judged on it's rather scrumptious flavour.

I had a vague feeling I'd be using lentils, but really hadn't planned any further than that. Apparently throwing things together often produces my best work, and despite it not winning any beauty contests any time soon, this was a much tastier dish than it looks, or than I had faith in, and I thought it deserved a mention. And the aubergine was a triumph, I must use it this way more often.

So back to the lentils, I knew I had some red ones, but didn't fancy a soup or a curry and wanted something with bite, so after raiding my frozen fish stores and finding 2 cod fillets, I thought some green lentils would be the best option. I feel these low fat, high protein legumes have a bit of an unfair reputation of being boring, my answer is that anything is boring if you don't season, spice or accompany it properly. So leave my buddy lentil out if it! It's you, unnamed complainer, that lacks imagination!

Anyway, as you'll probably know by now, I tend to like my recipes pretty straightforward so, oddly enough, this one is really easy. Enjoy!

Cod with Lentils & Sautéed Aubergine
serves 2 as a main, with lots of leftovers

for the fish
2 cod fillets
enough milk to cover cod fillets
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
some peppercorns
a little salt

for the lentils
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
some green lentils, rinsed (I had about 1/5 of a bag)
1 veggie stock cube
salt & pepper

for the aubergine
1 aubergine, diced
some dried coriander
some dried mint
a little basil & ground nut oil, or any oil of your choosing

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan, add your onions, garlic and chilli and soften. Add your lentils and mix together. Crumble in your stock cube, cover the lentils with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 35 minutes.
  2. Once your lentils have been simmering for 20 minutes, heat some oil in a frying pan. Toss your aubergine pieces in the coriander and mint and then sauté in the oil until browned and soft, but still retaining their shape.
  3. Bring a pan with the milk, bay leaf, star anise, peppercorns and pinch of salt to the boil. Pop in your cod fillets, turn the heat off, put a lid on and let the fish cook in the hot milk for a few minutes. If your cod was still a bit frozen, like mine, you may need to simmer it for a little while.
  4. Serve your cod on a bed of lentils with some of the poaching liquor drizzled over the top. Enjoy this plain looking dish much more than you ever though you would! Seriously, give lentils a go. They're good for you, last ages in the cupboard, cost pennies and bulk out any meal with their flavour absorbing magic!
Side note: most people discard their poaching liquor, but I quite like it, and will sup it like a soup, or use it in a frittata, as I have done for our pre-theatre picnic today. There is always another use, and often things that have been cooked before are the most flavoursome and just incredibly delicious.

Frittata making use of the poaching liquor.


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