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THE CONFIDENT COOK

Recipe: If the weather is iffy, turn on the broiler for these swordfish steaks on a summer lentil salad

Broiled Swordfish with Summer Lentil Salad.Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 4

Your oven's broiler is probably the most underused kitchen tool at your disposal. For rainy days, when wet weather can interfere with patio plans for all but intrepid grillers (assuming you have a grill in the first place), the broiler is waiting for you to just turn the knob. These swordfish steaks, with lemon and coriander seed, served over a summer salad of lentils, fresh mint, cilantro, and cherry tomatoes, reach juicy perfection in the broiler. The technique is simple enough and ideal for fish, which, depending on its thickness, takes anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes. You don't need to turn the fish; unlike the grill, you broil fish on one side only. The best lentils for salad are the tiny French green Le Puy lentils, a variety that is about one-third the size of standard green lentils and slightly darker in color. The advantage is that they hold their shape better than almost any other lentils and don't turn to mush when they're fully cooked. They have a mineral-like, earthy flavor with slightly peppery overtones. While they're still warm, stir in the dressing so they can absorb its flavors. Let them come to room temperature, then add the cherry tomatoes and herbs. While they rest, turn on the broiler to cook the fish and you're just a few minutes away from an easy and delicious summer meal.

DRESSING

3tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1teaspoon Dijon mustard
2teaspoons coriander seed, crushed in a mortar, or 1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of sugar
6tablespoons olive oil

1. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, mustard, coriander, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and sugar.

2. Gradually whisk in the oil. Taste the dressing for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

LENTILS

Salt and pepper, to taste
1cup small green lentils, such as French Le Puy lentils
1tablespoon olive oil
1large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1tablespoon sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
Pinch of sugar
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful fresh cilantro leaves
Handful fresh mint leaves

1. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils, let the water return to a boil, and lower the heat. Simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape. Drain in a large strainer but do not rinse. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the dressing and leave to cool to room temperature.

2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the shallot, and cook, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it softens. Stir in the vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Cool to room temperature.

3. Stir the shallot, tomatoes, cilantro, and mint into the lentils. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar, if you like.

SWORDFISH

Olive oil (for the dish)
pounds swordfish, cut into 4 pieces
2tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1teaspoon crushed coriander seed or a few pinches ground coriander
Extra mint leaves (for garnish)
1 lemon, cut into wedges (for serving)

1. Set a rack 6 inches from the broiler. Turn on the broiler. Lightly oil a shallow baking dish (not glass) that will withstand broiler heat.

2. Set the swordfish pieces in the dish. Rub them with oil and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

3. Broil the fish for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness (without turning), or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fish registers 145 degrees.

4. Divide the lentil salad among 4 plates. Place a steak on top and sprinkle with coriander. Garnish with mint leaves and serve with lemon.

Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 4

Your oven's broiler is probably the most underused kitchen tool at your disposal. For rainy days, when wet weather can interfere with patio plans for all but intrepid grillers (assuming you have a grill in the first place), the broiler is waiting for you to just turn the knob. These swordfish steaks, with lemon and coriander seed, served over a summer salad of lentils, fresh mint, cilantro, and cherry tomatoes, reach juicy perfection in the broiler. The technique is simple enough and ideal for fish, which, depending on its thickness, takes anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes. You don't need to turn the fish; unlike the grill, you broil fish on one side only. The best lentils for salad are the tiny French green Le Puy lentils, a variety that is about one-third the size of standard green lentils and slightly darker in color. The advantage is that they hold their shape better than almost any other lentils and don't turn to mush when they're fully cooked. They have a mineral-like, earthy flavor with slightly peppery overtones. While they're still warm, stir in the dressing so they can absorb its flavors. Let them come to room temperature, then add the cherry tomatoes and herbs. While they rest, turn on the broiler to cook the fish and you're just a few minutes away from an easy and delicious summer meal.

DRESSING

3tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1teaspoon Dijon mustard
2teaspoons coriander seed, crushed in a mortar, or 1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of sugar
6tablespoons olive oil

1. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, mustard, coriander, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and sugar.

2. Gradually whisk in the oil. Taste the dressing for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

LENTILS

Salt and pepper, to taste
1cup small green lentils, such as French Le Puy lentils
1tablespoon olive oil
1large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1tablespoon sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
Pinch of sugar
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful fresh cilantro leaves
Handful fresh mint leaves

1. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils, let the water return to a boil, and lower the heat. Simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape. Drain in a large strainer but do not rinse. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the dressing and leave to cool to room temperature.

2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the shallot, and cook, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it softens. Stir in the vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Cool to room temperature.

3. Stir the shallot, tomatoes, cilantro, and mint into the lentils. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar, if you like.

SWORDFISH

Olive oil (for the dish)
pounds swordfish, cut into 4 pieces
2tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1teaspoon crushed coriander seed or a few pinches ground coriander
Extra mint leaves (for garnish)
1 lemon, cut into wedges (for serving)

1. Set a rack 6 inches from the broiler. Turn on the broiler. Lightly oil a shallow baking dish (not glass) that will withstand broiler heat.

2. Set the swordfish pieces in the dish. Rub them with oil and sprinkle with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

3. Broil the fish for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness (without turning), or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fish registers 145 degrees.

4. Divide the lentil salad among 4 plates. Place a steak on top and sprinkle with coriander. Garnish with mint leaves and serve with lemon.Sally Pasley Vargas