04/12/2011

Cayenne Dusted Cod with Puy Lentils

Puy lentils, a Protected Designation of Origin green lentil variety from the Le Puy region of France owes its distinct character to the terroir within which it grows.

Lentils are part of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family: legumes, and as such have no place in the paleo diet, yet are tentatively acceptable as part of what I would call a paleo+ diet.

Legumes as a family represent a wide spectrum. When considering food sources, one does need to look at the whole, the big picture - red kidney beans represent the most toxic end of the spectrum, while lentils represent the least toxic. Beyond paleo, Archevore author Kurt Harris makes no mention of legumes, in fact, considers them a useful food source although not ideal.

Legumes MUST be prepared by soaking and then pressure cooking. Canned legumes will have already been soaked and then pressure cooked, or super-heated with steam.

While meat, fish and eggs are on the table, why eat off the plate? Well, lentils could be considered an interested texture or flavour boosting protein calories ( include the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine), as well as acting as a ready source of dietary fibre, folate, Vitamin B1 and a number of trace minerals, notably iron.

Puy lentils lend a unique flavour and pleasant texture to all manner of meals, white fish particularly.

Begin by melting some butter in a skillet and softening a chopped onion or shredded leek. Toss in a clove or two of minced garlic.

Pour in a can of Puy lentils.

Enhance the umami flavours with a touch of tomato purée and a good splash of Worcestershire Sauce. Add a little water and let the lentils simmer.

Meanwhile, prepare the fish.

Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Place a portion of firm white fish onto an oven-proof tray, lightly greased. Dust the fish with cayenne pepper and place in the oven while you finish off the vegetables.

Shred some cabbage and soften it in boiling water. Drain off.

In another skillet, fry off some shredded bacon and then toss in the shredded cabbage. Toss the two ingredients together. Bacon works so well with white fish, with lentils and with cabbage.

After 20 minute, or so, the fish should be cooked.

Reduce the liquid in the lentil skillet, re-heat the bacon and cabbage skillet and then serve out onto a plate, lentils on one side, bacon and cabbage the other with the fish placed over the top. Dig in!

Another idea would be to simply steam the fish and accompany with a few peeled and boiled new potatoes.

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