I like to think I was a hippie once. In the 90s I wore plaid pajama bottoms to school with scuffed used combat boots that I bought from a guy with a rusty safety-pin in his ear in Toronto’s Kensington Market. Can you hear the gasp from my mother when I came home with those boots? Yeah, I can still hear it too. Good thing she never saw the guy who sold them to me.
In addition to my snazzy hippy wardrobe of flowing skirts and peasant blouses, I was “el presidente” of my high school’s environmental group. I loved Simon & Garfunkel. I wore dangly beaded earrings. My friend Rob had a brown VW van and we used to sit in the parking lot at lunch hour and sing Blue Rodeo songs. Right on. Groovy.
During those years I also tried (unsuccessfully) to be a vegetarian. I decided I would subsist on a diet of basically everything I was already eating, just minus the meat. Which meant a lot of mashed potatoes and cooked carrots at home, and a lot of fries and pizza at school. Not exactly well-balanced. And I certainly was NOT going to eat weird things like lentils. As if. Sheesh.
While my vegetarian hippie days are now but distant memories, I have recently found myself head over heels in love with the mystical lentil. How did THAT happen? I’ve discovered that lentils don’t have to be overcooked and mushy, no no. They can be a delicious savoury side dish (or main for that matter), simply cooked in a little stock, drizzled with olive oil and maybe some sautéed onion and garlic and fresh parsley. Mmmmm. As Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said in the Guardian last week, they are “little marvels”.
The Jamie recipe featured today is from his second book, The Naked Chef Takes Off, and is a very quick, healthy and colourful weeknight dinner dish. Perfect for your inner hippie on a Wednesday night! Peace out brothers and sisters.
Salmon Fillet Wrapped in Prosciutto with Herby Lentils, Spinach and Yogurt
The Naked Chef Takes Off (2000)
- 9 oz lentils
- four 8 oz salmon fillets, skinned and pin-boned
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 slices of prosciutto
- olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 good handfuls of mixed herbs (flat-leaf parsley, basil, mint), chopped
- 3 large handfuls of spinach, chopped
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
Preheat the oven to 425F. Put the lentils into a pan, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender. Season the salmon fillets with a little pepper before wrapping them in the prosciutto slices. Leave some of the flesh exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for around 10 minutes until the prosciutto is golden. Feel free to cook the salmon for less time if pinker is to your liking. Drain away most of the water from the lentils and season carefully with salt, pepper, the lemon juice and 4 good glugs of olive oil. Just before serving, stir the herbs and spinach into the lentils over high heat, until wilted. Place onto plates with the salmon and finish with a drizzle of yogurt seasoned lightly with salt and pepper and stirred well. Thin the yogurt with a little milk if necessary.