Lightly Curry-Spiced Flathead with Red Wine Sauce and Lentils

By Rick Stein

Lightly Curry-Spiced Flathead with Red Wine Sauce and Lentils recipe by Rick Stein, brought to you by MiNDFOOD.

Often considered an unusual pair, red wine and white fish can work well when enhanced with the subtle, spicy flavours of cloves and cinnamon.

Serves 4

100g puy lentils

1 sprig thyme

2 fresh bay leaves

25g butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 x 150g fillets unskinned flathead,

pin-boned and scaled

good-quality mild curry powder, to season

2 tbsp olive oil

15g butter (extra)

Red wine sauce

50g butter

50g carrot, finely chopped

50g celery, finely chopped

50g onion, finely chopped

pinch ground cloves

pinch ground cinnamon

pinch crushed dried chillies

2 green cardamom pods, seeds

generous pinch curry powder

600ml red wine

(such as cabernet sauvignon)

600ml fresh chicken stock

1 tsp sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp plain flour

1 Soak lentils in warm water for 1 hour. Drain and transfer to a small saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil, add thyme and bay leaves, reduce heat and simmer for 20–30 minutes or until tender. Drain, cover and set aside.

2 Meanwhile, to make red wine sauce, melt 25g of the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add carrot, celery and onion and fry gently for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Add spices and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add wine, stock, sugar and salt and boil until reduced to one-quarter of original volume (about 300ml). Strain into a clean, smaller saucepan and keep warm. Blend remaining butter with flour and set beurre manié aside with sauce.

3 To finish preparing lentils, melt butter in a small saucepan. Add onion and fry gently until soft but not browned. Add cooked lentils and 2 tbsp water. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently warm through and keep warm.

4 Lightly sprinkle fillets on both sides with some curry powder, salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add fillets, skin-side down, and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side until just cooked through.

5 Meanwhile, bring sauce back to a simmer and then whisk in beurre manié, a little at a time, until sauce is smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When fillets are cooked add butter (extra) to the frying pan and turn fillets over in it briefly.

6 Spoon lentils into the centre of 
4 warmed plates and top with fillets, 
skin-side up. Spoon sauce around fillets and lentils and serve.


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