A real French classic found in all the best brasseries, this dish is simple enough to recreate at home, and yet will wow your friends and family.
Bring the water to a gentle simmer, and add the spices, salt and stalks from the parsley. Let the flavours infuse for about 5 minutes before gently placing the salmon in the poaching liquor.
Cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat down to the lowest setting, and poach the fish for 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, and set aside until needed.
Peel and dice the onion, and chop into a fine dice.
Top and tail the carrot, peel and cut into dice about the same size as the onions. Do the same with the celery.
Smash and peel the garlic cloves, then mince.
Over a medium heat, melt the butter in a pan, then sweat the onion, carrot and celery until soft.
Add the garlic, thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and cook for a further two minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, turn up the heat, and cook out the wine until the pan is nearly dry.
Add the Puy lentils to the pan, and cover with water: the lentils should be covered by about 3cm of water. Bring up to a boil, cover the pan and leave to simmer over a medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes. The lentils are ready when they are soft, but not bursting out of their skins. If they are still to firm, you may need to add more water and simmer for longer.
While the lentils are cooking, pick the leaves from the tarragon stalks, and chop along with the parsley leaves left over from the poaching liquor. Set aside.
Whisk together the cider vinegar and Dijon mustard. Taste for seasoning: if the vinaigrette is too sharp, drizzle in the olive oil.
Drain off the excess cooking liquid from the lentils, if necessary, drizzle with vinaigrette and stir in the chopped herbs.
Plate up the lentils.
Carefully remove the salmon fillets from the poaching liquid, and peel off the skin.
Place on top of the lentils, and dollop with a little creme fraiche.
«You can vary the flavour of the poaching liquor by changing up the spices, or adding some lemon peel.»