Friends in the fridge

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We all have our fridge stalwarts – things we know we can turn into a supper in a flash, a light lunch or a few canapés to present to unexpected guests bearing champagne (well it sometimes happens!). I have always got good chorizo, a block of parmesan and a bunch of thyme in mine.

It’s rather embarrassingly crammed with condiments too. Cleaning it requires manoeuvring around pickled chillis, Bahan chilli jelly, at least four different types of jam, five mustards, two types of ketchup, a jar of hot horseradish, three jars of chilli sauce.

One thing I always keep on hand for all occasions is smoked fish. It lasts for ages, doesn’t cost the earth and carries serious flavour – particularly if you search out the good stuff. I always bring a couple of trout back with me from a little smokery in Cley, North Norfolk, whenever I’m lucky enough to pass by. They are the colour of a summer’s sunset on the local coast – golden and blue, flecked with pinks and greens.

Fishmongers are your best bet for some great smoked fish – much drier and smokier than the supermarket versions – but use whatever you can get for this delicious recipe. You could also use ready cooked lentils, but not tinned, to speed things up.

Lentils with smoked trout, dill and crème fraiche

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 75g puy lentils (uncooked weight)
  • a bunch of dill
  • 3 tbs crème fraiche
  • 2 tsp hot horseradish (you may need to use more if using the creamed variety)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 inch piece of cucumber
  • 6 gherkins
  • 3 trout fillets

Method

Cook the lentils according to the packet instructions – probably about 12-15 minutes, until they just retain a little bite. Once cooked, drain and add a splash of olive oil to keep them moist. Allow to cool.

Mix the crème fraiche, horseradish, and lemon juice together. Finely chop the dill and add this with the crème fraiche mixture to the lentils. Halve the cucumber, scrape out the seeds with a spoon and finely slice. Roughly chop the gherkins and add them along with the cucumber to the rest of the ingredients. Lastly, flake in the trout and fold gently in to avoid breaking up too much. Season and serve.

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