This is a really nice way to prepare fish – cooked at a (reasonably) consistent and low temperature, the fish will retain its texture and moisture. The fish is cooked in olive oil – the oil will hold its temperature reasonably well for the cooking process.
Puy lentils are wonderful with this sort of dish – I’ve still got some pea shoots left and plenty of apples so the nutty lentils will work perfectly. I also add a twist of chilli flakes for a slight heat to the dish.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Confit Of Salmon With Puy Lentils & Apple Salad
- 1 fillet of salmon per person
- At least half a litre of olive oil (don’t use extra virgin)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- enough salt to coat the salmon
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup Puy lentils
- Water for cooking the lentils (you could use a vegetable stock but the lentils have enough flavour of their own as long as you don’t over cook them)
- Chilli flakes
- Pea shoots
- Salt & Black Pepper.
First you need to salt the fish – squeeze the lemon over the fish, sprinkle over the sugar and then add enough salt to make sure all sides are covered.
Leave the fish to rest for 30 minutes to an hour.
Now wash the salt off the salmon under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
You need a thermometer for this dish – you can kind of judge it by hand – if the oil is too hot for you to hold your hand in it, it’s too hot for the fish. Get yourself a thermometer though.. much easier.
Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan until it reaches 55c. Place the salmon in the oil and leave for 20 minutes.
You need to keep an eye on the temperature – once you put the salmon in, the temperature will drop to around 45c and that’s where you need to keep it. It shouldn’t vary too much but if it drops below 45c put the pan back over a very low heat to gradually bring the temperature up.
Meanwhile, rinse the lentils under water and add to a pan of salted water and bring to the boil. They should take about 25 minutes – keep an eye on them, they need to be firm but not hard and underdone – you’ll know when they’re done. Drain them, add a twist of black pepper and some flaked chilli. A glug of olive helps it on its way – give it a taste, season more if you think you need it but it’s really all about the nutty taste of the lentils.
I pressed the salmon into some finely chopped chive and then placed onto the lentils. I then arranged the pea shoots and apples around it. I’d cut the apple into a thin julienne.
Once you’ve nailed cooking the fish like this it’s a really simple way to ensure you get beautiful, moist fish.