Wednesday 5 September 2012

Mackerel, Beetroot, Lentil and Egg Salad

Lentil and Mackerel Salad-5

A few months ago I found myself arriving at a bizarre Parisian hotel in the middle of what seemed like nowhere for a meeting about biscuits. It was midnight. I was shattered. And the Hotel Mama Shelter flummoxed me so much that I landed up going to the loo in the ladies toilets – only to be ticked off by a couple of outraged lesbians.

After failing to find refuge in my concrete bedroom, lit only by and Obelix and evil Elvis masks, I decided to make a late trip to the bar to regain my sanity.

I whiled away an hour watching the “Medi-arty” hop from table to table, sipping, slurping and flirting in equal measure. The highlight was watching, a bombastically trendy Swedish teenager managed to chat up and bed a fawning American model all in the space of 45 minutes.

During lunch the next day we were served one of the best things I’ve eaten this year. It couldn’t have been a lot more simple. It was just a mound of perfectly cooked and seasoned green lentils, dressed with mustard and crème fraiche and topped with a soft boiled egg and a scattering of tarragon. Its simplicity belied its flavour and moreishness.

I’ve since taken this straightforward approach to lentils and cook this dish whenever we need to conjour a quick supper out of thin air. Add some smoked mackerel and beetroot and you’ve got one of the healthiest, easiest and most delicious suppers imaginable. I suspect it would be even better with some horseradish.

Ingredients for two people:

300g green lentils
2 eggs
Handful of chopped tarragon
3 smoked mackerel fillets
2 sliced beetroots
2 spoons of Dijon mustard
2 spoons of crème fraiche
Salt and pepper


Boil the lentils until tender. Drain. And allow to cool slightly. Mix through the mustard, crème fraiche and most of the chopped tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Soft boil or poach your eggs.

Throw on some broken up pieces of smoked mackerel and some slices of beetroot and place the soft cooked egg on top. Sprinkle the remaining tarragon on top. Season the egg, squeeze some lemon over the top and serve immediately. Pierce the egg to release the runny yolk and tuck in.

Lentil and Mackerel Salad-1


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