While I might be missing the Californian climate, something enjoyable about autumn and winter is the ability to cook and enjoy winter warmer food, so I thought I bring you one to round up this week’s blogging (at 5 am. Bloody jet-lag): Smoked Haddock on a Bed of Green Lentils. For 4 people:
Wash and rinse 2 cups of green lentils. Finely chop a glove of garlic and a medium onion, maybe add some carrot and celery, fry those briefly with a bit of olive oil, add the lentils, a cup of water, a bay leaf. Normally, dried lentils take forever to cook – to trick them into surrendering sooner, add one stock cube. Stock cubes or granulates contain bicarbonate, which does magic for the lentils. While the lentils simmer, work on the haddock:
Take 2 fillets of smoked haddock. Don’t use the yellow stuff; the yellow colour is just artificial and not very healthy colouring. Buy the white smoked haddock fillets that are widely available in every U.K. supermarket. Skin the fillets and break them into two pieces each. Heat a pint of milk in a flat pan, add 2 bay leaves, 3..4 crushed juniper berries, and let the fish simmer in the milk for about 5..8 minutes. Make sure the milk never boils (or agree with somebody else on the cleaning of the kitchen beforehand). While the fish simmers away, prepare four poached eggs:
Bring a deep pot of water to the boil. Let it boil violently. Add a generous dash of white vinegar. Break the egg shells and slide each egg into a flat saucer, and slide them from there into the boiling water. The saucer allows the white to surround the yolk; if you just pour the egg from its shell, the sharp shell edge will cut through the white. The vinegar also helps solidifying the egg quickly. Let them boil for 3 minutes (you do want the yolks runny). Meanwhile…
Season the lentils to taste. Put a spoon or two of lentils on each plate, and rest a portion of haddock on top. Take the eggs out with a skimmer, drain a little (sometimes they get watery pouches which you might want to drain), and put one egg on top of each plate. Sprinkle a little chopped parsley across. Serve with crispy white bread and wine to taste.