Cooking for the heart

I’ve had a few days off work (sort of), so I can be found in my kitchen even more regularly than normal. On Tuesday, I cooked and baked for the two women who raised me (not by themselves, my dad, for one, was intimately involved- but I wouldn’t be me without them). There were stuffed portobello mushrooms and grilled asparagus for my mother after a day of hard work. And there were lemon sables for my great-aunt, who is in a home while she recovers from hip replacement surgery. Vegetables and cookies to show I care- food from the heart.

Today, it was just me and dinner wasn’t so much from the heart as for the heart. I got ” Cooking for a Healthy Heart” from the library when my ever-tightening pants told me it was time to Stop. Eating. The. Wrong. Thing. Right now. It’s got quite a few lovely recipes (in spite of a tendency to consider vegetable spread an acceptable ingredient)- in fact, the caponata I described earlier as the first thing I cooked my man is from this book. Today, a recipe for salmon with lentils and dill caught my eye.

I’ve had a box of lentils sitting in my pantry since we got back from a holiday in France last year, stumped as to what to do with them. (Also, a little scared I wouldn’t like them. They are Puy lentils, that everyone always loves and I don’t like legumes in general. These were like a last-ditch attempt to teach myself to like this good-for-you food group. My experiment a few weeks ago to do the same with home-soaked chickpeas ended in a pan of inedible, black soup. But, uhm…, that might have had something to with the use of black pantyhose to make a bouquet garni. Nigella said nothing about using colorless pantyhose…) This recipe was my keep-my-fingers-crossed attempt at making something delicious from pulses.

And, boy, was I relieved. Even though the lentils had a bit of that mealy-ness I dislike so much, this dish was a keeper. Lentils brightened by a herby dressing, pieces of sweet roasted pepper and juicy salmon all mixed with a good dose of dill and spring onions. Tasty, healthy, lovely.

Lentils with salmon and dill
Adapted from ” Cooking for a Healthy Heart” by Jacqui Lynas

125gr filleted salmon
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
50 gr of Puy lentils
handful of dill, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped (reserve a little to use as garnish)
lemon juice for sprinkling

dressing
small clove of garlic, peeled
handful basil leaves
handful dill
1 tsp mustard
1 pickled Turkish green pepper
juice of half a lemon
small glug of olive oil

Boil lentils according to package instructions (mine said to start with cold water, bring to a boil and cook for 25 minutes- but they were a bit mushy and could have used a little less time in the pot). In the mean time, make dressing by pounding all ingredients except oil together with mortar and pestle. When ingredients have turned to a bright green paste, add enough olive oil to make thick dressing.

Poach salmon until almost-done (please don’t overcook). Drain lentils when done and immediately mix with dressing, bell pepper, dill and spring onions. Leave to stand for a while to allow lentils to soak up flavors. Add salmon, toss. Serve with a little extra spring onion on top.

Serves one

Grilled asparagus
Adapted from “Het Basiskookboek” published by Albert Heijn

Bunch of green asparagus
Olive oil
Lime juice
Nice, crunchy salt for sprinkling

Wash asparagus and break off bottom 2cm or so (no need to peel). Pat dry and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss asparagus to coat with the oil.

Heat a grilling pan to hot, put asparagus in pan. Turning them occassionally to brown on all sides, cook asparagus for eight minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

Mix a good glug of olive oil with lime juice to taste to make a dipping sauce for asparagus. Sprinkle asparagus with a little salt and serve with dip on the side.

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1 Comment

Filed under Fish, Legumes, vegetables

One response to “Cooking for the heart

  1. Manon

    Chickpeas with pantyhose??! Thought you were Bridget Jones my dear? Try them just with a little olive oil, lime juice, red onion in pieces, some raisins, salt & pepper as a salad. Way better. Veggies rule. Love, M.

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