Comforting food doesn’t have to be fried, smothered in cheese or topped with whipped cream. When we think of soothing ingredients, our mind wanders to lentils. In this recipe, our Test Kitchen uses the meaty legumes as a bed for simply broiled, mild Arctic char. The entire plate is finished with a drizzle of fresh basil oil and a smattering of chopped tomatoes. It’s the type of dinner that takes the edge off.
Arctic Char with Basil Oil and Lentils
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 35 minutes
1 cup green lentils, washed
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon basil oil, or 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium tomato, cored and finely chopped
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon basil oil, or 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves, plus extra basil oil (or olive oil) for serving
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Four 4-ounce Arctic char fillets
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Make the lentils: In a medium saucepan set over high heat, add 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the lentils and garlic and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are al dente, about 20 minutes (depending on the age of the lentils). Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan and cook 5 minutes more, then turn off the heat and set aside 5 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves, turn the lentils out into a sieve, and place under cold running water to cool. Shake the sieve to remove as much water as possible before turning the lentils out into a medium bowl. Add the basil oil, lemon juice, mustard and salt, stir and set aside.
2. Make the fish: In a medium bowl, stir together the tomato, scallion, basil oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil and place the fish fillets on top. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fillets and season with pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt.
3. Adjust an oven rack so it is about 3 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler to high. Broil the fish until charred around the edges and the fish gives only slightly when pressed, 2 to 3 minutes (watch the broiler closely, as broiler intensity varies).
4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Divide the lentils among 4 plates. Top each with a fish fillet and some tomatoes. Drizzle with extra basil oil (or olive oil) and serve. Calories per Serving: 418; Sodium: 1,143mg; Total Carbohydrate: 34g; Fiber: 16g; Fat: 15g