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Make this quick-cooking, flavorful dish for a weeknight recovery meal.
2 4- to 6-ounce halibut filets, deboned and skinned
½ cup black lentils
2 shallots, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 fennel, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T tomato paste
2 cups vegetable stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tsp tarragon, chopped
Preheat oven to 250 degrees (convection) or 275 degrees (standard). Heat an ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a splash of olive oil. Season the filets with a generous pinch of kosher salt. Sear the halibut on one side for about 2–3 minutes. Flip the fish over, remove from the heat and set aside. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Add the shallots, carrots and fennel. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Once the garlic is fragrant, add in the tomato paste and stir until well combined. Deglaze the pan by adding the vegetable stock (it will pick up and dissolve anything stuck to the pan). Add in the lentils, thyme and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and partially cover. Simmer for 20–30 minutes. As soon as the lentils are simmering, place the halibut in the oven for 20–25 minutes. Remember that the halibut will keep cooking once you pull it out of the oven. Once the lentils are cooked, season with salt. Taste and adjust the seasonings. If you salt before this step, it will take longer to cook. Split the lentil ragout between two plates, top with a halibut filet and chopped tarragon. Serves 2.
Chef tips: To shorten cooking time, soak the lentils the night before in a saltwater solution. Chef Harrell also recommends not eating this the night before a race, as the lentils are high in fiber.
Meet the Triathlete-chef
A long-time private and personal chef, Susan Harrell moved to Asheville, N.C., and, through her racing, identified a void she wanted to fill. “I got tired of finishing a Gran Fondo or triathlon, and the food was always mediocre or really fattening and heavy because the caterer had no idea what athletes want or need to eat,” she says. That led her to start her own business, Endurance Zone, which caters events such as races and training camps. She also publishes recipes on her website for the home chef and athlete. “I have a goal of making healthy and tasty food available to all,” she says. Harrell got into triathlon about four years ago “on a whim”—when her brother signed up for a sprint triathlon and she decided to join him. Even with minimal training and racing on an old steel bike, “I had a lot of fun and I figured I’d keep giving it a try.” She’s training for Ironman Louisville this year but is approaching it with greater life balance. “Last year I was plagued with injuries and sicknesses. It burned me out and I didn’t do anything all winter,” she says. “Now if I miss a long bike ride because friends want to hang out and throw a barbecue, so be it! It’s a hobby that should always stay fun and never be a chore.”