This is possibly one of my favourite quick and easy, any-season fish suppers. It’s lazy but luscious and adaptable depending on what you have in the store cupboard. It’s worth laying in a jar of Navarrico lentils (from Brindisa) or use a sachet or other can, enriching the flavour by starting the cooking with gently softened chopped onion and garlic. Once a thick and interesting stew is achieved, the fish fillets are laid on top skin-side upper most, the pan covered and the fish cooks in the heat of the stew and its steam. The skin is whipped off and served with a generous splash of your best olive oil and finely snipped chives or another soft, herb such as oregano, coriander, flat leaf parsley or mint or a mix of them all.
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 35 min
3 thick, middle fillets hake or cod
700g jar Navarrico lentils
200g passata or fresh or canned chopped tomatoes
pinch chilli flakes
small glass red wine
150ml light stock
best olive oil
at least 2 tbsp finely snipped chives
Dust the fish with salt and set aside to firm and season. Meanwhile, tip the lentils and their delicious juices into a heavy-duty, wide-based, lidded pan and stir in the passata, chilli flakes, red wine and stock. Simmer steadily, stirring often so the food doesn’t stick, cooking for at least 15 minutes, until the sauce is thick and luscious. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Rinse the salt off the fish and pat dry. When you ready to eat, place the fish skin-side uppermost, over the lentils. Cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes until the fish feels tender but firm to the point of a sharp knife. Use a fork and knife to carefully ease off the fish skin. Add a splash of your best olive oil and a lavish garnish of chives. To serve, scoop under a fillet of fish with some of the lentils, adding more lentils later.