Our mid-afternoon snack at Buvette in Paris included a chilled salad of green Puy lentils topped with what appeared to be some mashed potatoes and smoked trout. It was a revelation of flavors and textures, so simple it seemed, yet so new in many ways. We ate every morsel of it. And I promised myself that I would try and replicate it or a decent version of it when we got back home. The recipe for this dish is not in the Buvette cookbook, so I had to make one up. The results were surprisingly good, but I am certain I missed an ingredient or technique somewhere along the way…
First, I cooked the small green Puy lentils in boiling water until done but still firm. Let these cool, and to that I added some finely chopped shallots, wine vinegar and good olive oil and seasoned this with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Chill this in the fridge.
Next, I hoped that our own smoked or tinapang bangus would approximate the smoked trout of the original dish. It certainly had the same flavor, but the tinapang bangus, fried briefly, was a little less moist than the trout. Flake this out and place it in a food processor to blitz briefly but not too smoothly. I could have just shredded this with a fork, maybe next time.
I boiled some potatoes and put them through a ricer while still hot. I tried to get the potatoes as fluffy and light as possible.
Mix in the smoked fish, and I added some milk/cream and gently mixed this up. Salt and pepper and some chopped chives if you have them. Make sure you use sufficient salt, the chilled dish somewhat dulls the saltiness, though the vinegar from the lentils is a bright note of flavor. Chill.
To serve, put a few spoonfuls of lentils in a dish, and add some olive oil if it looks like you need it. Put a generous dollop of the potato and smoked fish mixture on top and garnish with chopped parsley if desired and serve with some warm french bread on the side. Delicious, relatively easy, and a mouthful of new flavor combinations and textures that are a pleasure to consume! You must use good olive oil and vinegar for this dish. And be generous with the flaked tinapa and light on the potatoes.
I just googled a recipe for this and there still isn’t one on the net, but there is this light version from the New York Times, by someone who also ate at Buvette and was smitten with this dish. Her version is definitely the healthier one. :)