It has been a crazy busy few weeks, but I won't bore all of you with the details. Let's just say that finding myself at home last Friday with enough energy to cook a nice meal, just for myself, was a much-desired treat. I think that a fish fillet is particularly suitable for dinners for one, so on a quiet evening I seasoned Le Puy lentils with mustard and creme fraiche, slowly braised carrots and leeks in olive oil and listened to fish skin crackling in the oven. A glass of Hanging Vine Chardonnay, the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy on the laptop, and a proper dinner were the perfect reminders that sometimes bliss is in slowing down for a few hours every few weeks.
Oven-roasted Mahi-mahi with Le Puy lentils and braised carrots and leeks
For the fish:
1 fillet of Mahi-mahi
Olive oil, salt, pepper
For the lentils:
1/2 cup of Le Puy lentils
2 teaspoons good mustard
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
For the vegetables:
3 medium carrots, cut across into 1/4 inch coins
1 leek, halved, rinsed well, and sliced into 1/4 inch semi-circles
1 small onion, cut in half and sliced
2 cloves of garlic
3 - 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, rinsed
1/4 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees for the fish, along with the skillet you plan to cook the fish in.
Rinse the lentils in cold water to remove any debris, then cover with 1 cup of water, bring to the boil, add a healthy pinch of salt, reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 20 - 30 minutes until tender, but still toothsome.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and saute onions and leeks over medium heat until they begin to caramelize. Don't rush it; a lot of the flavor is developed here. Add the garlic, carrots, and thyme and another 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Reduce the heat to low and braise the vegetables, covered, for 20 minutes until soft, but not mushy. Turn off the heat and add a good drizzle of balsamic or sherry wine vinegar to give the vegetables a bit of brightness.
Meanwhile, pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the hot skillet, season the fish with salt, and place it in the skillet skin side down. Roast in the oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until the fillet is opaque and flaky, but still moist.
The lentils should be done now. Mix the mustard and the creme fraiche and taste to see if they need more salt. Spoon the lentils onto a plate, place the fish on the lentils and top with braised vegetables. Add a few grinds of fresh black pepper if you would like. Remember how much you enjoy cooking and eating a proper meal.