Saturday, 2 August 2014

Warm smoked mackerel, lentil and roast tomato salad

250g green lentils
3 fillets smoked mackerel
about 200g cherry tomatoes
one small/ half a large red onion, peeled, or a bunch of spring onions
bunch flatleaf parsley
2 small sticks celery
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Zest of 1 lemon
Leaves from a few springs of thyme.
Wholegrain mustard
clove garlic
2 big handfuls  of rocket, watercress or other salad leaves

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, and add the lentils. Don't salt the water, as it will make the lentils harden. Cook until the lentils are tender, which will vary in time depending on how old they are- I'd allow at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 190 degrees. Halve the tomatoes and put in an oven proof dish. Lightly coat with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast for about 15-20 minutes. Set aside in the pan. Any juices left from roasting the tomatoes will be added to the dressing, so don't be too enthusiastic with clearing up just yet.

Finely chop the red onion or spring onion, and set aside. Slice the celery finely too, and put with the onion. Destalk the parsley, and roughly chop the leaves. Skin the mackerel fillets, and flake into medium sized pieces.

Once the lentils are cooked, drain and let them cool for a few minutes. Slice the garlic clove in half, and crush lightly with the flat side of a knife. Rub the cut side of the clove around the serving dish. This will give the final dish a slight scent of garlic, without being overwhelming. Put the lentils into the serving dish and add  the tomatoes, with any juices from the roasting tray to the serving dish too.Dress the lentils with some olive oil, and just enough red wine vinegar to give them a twang. Add some wholegrain mustard, to your taste. Start with a heaped teaspoon and increase from there. Finely chop the thyme leaves, and add to the lentils along with the lemon zest.Stir through the mackerel, onion and celery. Add the salad leaves and parsley, using a fork to gently mix it in. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Serves 4