sponsored video: e cooks :: pan-fried salmon with bacon wrapped asparagus and puy lentils

Some of my most cherished and memorable moments of my 27 years are the simple ones, when I was with people I love, sitting around the table and eating together. I was brought up in a "foodie" family, not just in terms of loving food and caring about what we ate, but also in that meals themselves are important. Whether you're eating alone and taking a break from work and other daily routines, or eating with friends and family in a restaurant or at home, it's a time to hit pause, recharge, and most importantly - enjoy.

So this video and its message is something that I find myself nodding in agreement with. Good food should be an unhurried experience, and also one that brings you joy - pure and simple. Also, this recipe sounds absolutely delicious! Lamb cooked on a barbecue for 4 hours? Yes, please. You should watch the video for the unadulterated foodporn alone. This Raki drink featured actually sounds nice to me, too - probably because it reminds me of pastis, a typical South of France drink that I love.

But there is this little thing called reality, and it's the thing that has us rolling our eyes at such a hassle - we all lead busy lives, and for most of us, a meal at home is something you want to make quickly and easily. Ideally though, this would also produce food that is beautiful, flavourful and looks far fancier than it is.

Well, I have the dish for you. Actually, E does... but that's no surprise.

E is someone who loves to tackle long-winded recipes and challenging himself in the kitchen. However, it's not the most reasonable thing to do that on a daily basis, and although he has slight problems with trying to keep things simple, he does come up with some quicker meals that are just as delicious and the kind of things I could probably make as well! 

This is one that he made for me because it incorporates some of my all time favourite ingredients - salmon, egg, bacon and lentils. Can't go wrong, can you?

Although he upped the fancy factor with dollops of cauliflower purΓ©e (what did I tell you about him struggling with simplicity?), this is definitely optional - even without it, it's an impressive dish and one I'm absolutely going to ask him to repeat.

Ingredients:

For the lentils
about 1 cup puy lentils, rinsed
1 carrot, peeled and cut in half lengthways
1 leek, 
cut in half lengthways
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
2 tsp red wine vinegar

For the beurre blanc sauce
1/4 cup shallots, thinly sliced
large sprig thyme
large sprig parsley
one bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
2/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup champagne vinegar (or 1/6 cup white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup double cream  
225g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
2-3 tbsp chicken stock
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp chervil
1 tsp chives

For the asparagus
8-10 asparagus stalks
4-6 rashers of bacon

For the salmon
2 salmon fillets
salt and pepper
oil for cooking

To make:


For the lentils
1) Put the lentils into a pan with the leek, carrot and onion.
2) Pour enough water to cover the ingredients, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, simmer for 20-25 mins until lentils are tender. 
3) Drain (but pour in a little of the cooking water) in a shallow bowl to cool, season with salt and 2 tsp red wine vinegar, cool and drain fully. 

For the beurre blanc
1) Put the shallots, thyme, parsley, bay leaf and black peppercorns into a medium pan. Add the wine,  champagne or white wine vinegar, and bring to boil over medium high heat, reduce and simmer for 20 mins until liquid is reduced to one tablespoon. Remove from heat. 

2) Add the heavy cream to reduce over medium heat until reduced to half the volume - it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. 
3) Start adding the unsalted butter piece by piece, whisking constantly, and add each piece as the previous has melted. The sauce should be warm but not simmering. 
4) Strain into small saucepan, stir in 2-3 tbsp chicken stock. 
5) Before serving, gently warm and stir in 1 tsp of tarragon, chervil and chives. 

For the asparagus
1) Wrap the asparagus with the bacon rashers, and cook on a grill pan. That's it!

For the salmon
1) Make sure the fillets are at room temperature before cooking.
2) Season the skin side with salt and pepper, the flesh side with salt only. 
3) Heat oil on mediium high heat, and when the oil is hot, cook the salmon on skin side for 5-6 minutes. Be careful not to burn. 
4) When you can see that it's cooked half way up the flesh and the top half is rare, it's ready. If you dont like it too rare or want the top to look cooked, flip it for 10-15 seconds.

disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Yeni Raki. all opinions are my own, as always.