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Salmon with Lentils

There isn’t much new to report from the Pâte à Chew Kitchen – I’ve been spending these cold winter days primarily working a lot, spending quality time at the gym, and thinking about new and fun recipes to try.  I’m also still focused on staying healthy (I promise I didn’t eat too many of the delicious Linzer Cookies I posted last week!).  This week I decided to try my hand at a traditional French favorite of mine: salmon with lentils.

This has to be one of my favorite light dishes, as it’s filling and satisfying but not heavy in butter or oil.  Plus, it’s got a ton of flavor – red onion, garlic, vinegar, and whole-grain mustard (one of my favorite ingredients!) ensure the lentils aren’t bland or boring.  It’s a simple but elegant dish!

One year ago: Lasagna and Garlic Bread

Salmon with Lentils

A mash-up of recipes adapted from Anne Burrell and Ina Garten

Total time: 1 hour

Serves 4-6

The lentils are great on their own.  To keep vegetarian (actually, vegan) obviously leave out the salmon and bacon.  I left out the bacon because I’m trying to be healthy, and I think the lentils are absolutely fabulous without it.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups green or black lentils
1/2 red onion, peeled, root end left on
1/2 carrot, peeled
1 stalk celery
2 bay leaves
1 small bundle thyme
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Salt

For the lentil garnish:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 slices bacon, cut into lardons (optional)
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1/2 cup carrot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Kosher salt

4 or 6-ounce salmon filets

1.  To cook the lentils:

In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients; add water to the pot until it covers the ingredients by about 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Remove the pot from the heat and season the water with salt. Taste the water to make sure it is seasoned. Let the lentils sit in the salty water for about 10 to 15 minutes. This will allow the lentils to absorb the seasoned water. Ladle off 1 cup of the lentil cooking water and reserve.

Remove all the vegetables and thyme from the lentils and discard.  Strain the lentils from the water.

2.  To assemble the lentils:

Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  If using bacon, add the bacon lardons.  When the bacon has rendered off a lot of fat and has become brown and crispy, add the onions.  If not using the bacon, just add the diced onions to the heated oil.  Season the onions with salt and sweat them until they become very soft and aromatic, about 10 minutes.

Add the celery and carrot. Season with salt and saute over medium heat until the vegetables start to become soft and aromatic, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the cooked lentils, 1/4 of the reserved lentil cooking water, the mustard and vinegar. Cook until most of the liquid has reduced. Taste for seasoning, add salt or more vinegar, if needed. Serve hot or at room temperature.

3.  For the salmon:

While assembling the lentils, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the salmon, heat a dry oven-proof saute pan over high heat for 4 minutes.  Meanwhile, rub both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil and season the tops very liberally with salt and pepper.  When the pan is very hot, place the salmon fillets seasoning-sides down in the pan and cook over medium heat without moving them for 2 minutes, until very browned. Turn the fillets and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked rare.  Spoon a mound of lentils on each plate and place a salmon fillet on top.  Serve hot.

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15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Looks hearty, but not heavy. I love it.

    February 13, 2012
  2. Whole-grain mustard is one of my favorite ingredients too, and it’s perfect with lentils! This dish looks lovely!

    February 13, 2012
  3. Oh lovely, a wonderful way to showcase a lovely fillet of salmon.

    February 13, 2012
  4. sounds like my kind of dish! red lentil soup is on my lunch menu this week, but once i stock up on my lentils this will have to get tried :)

    February 13, 2012
  5. Love this recipe! I posted a similar one here: http://passioneats.blogspot.com/2012/01/feel-good-dinner.html, after I saw the Barefoot Contessa and she inspired me. Lovely pictures, too–thanks for sharing!

    February 13, 2012
  6. I absolutely love this combination, and your salmon looks perfectly cooked and tender :) Yum!

    February 14, 2012
  7. I have used rice and polenta as a base for fish, but I have never even thought of using lentils. This does look like a good mix of flavors-especially the red wine vinegar and the mustard-yum! I do agree that this makes an excellent side dish-no sense in restricting it to just serving it as a bed for fish! Happy Valentine’s!

    February 14, 2012
  8. Liz #

    Your salmon looks perfectly seared! And I love the bed of delicious lentils…perfect meal!

    February 14, 2012
  9. Oooo, I have got to try this. I love salmon and I love lentils so this would be a loved combo, I’m sure!

    February 14, 2012
  10. Wow. I wish I had more skills in cooking salmon. Mine always falls apart! Thank you for sharing…and thank you for visiting my blog. It brightens my day to hear from you! Hugs and love from Austin.

    February 15, 2012
  11. I love Ina Garten’s recipe for Salmon and Lentils, but I love how you mashed it up with Anne Burrell’s as well! This would totally be a hit in our house =)

    February 16, 2012
  12. Congratulations on the Liebster Award from Exquisite Niche — I can see why Gursahiba enjoys your blog! Salmon is one of my favorites and this dish sounds delicious. I also liked your sweet potato recipe a couple of posts back — you’d fit right in here in the South. :)

    February 17, 2012
  13. I am so glad I read this before cooking my lentils today! I’ve never added thyme or onion of my cooking water before, but will be trying it tonight!

    February 17, 2012
  14. this looks delicious and hearty :) what a great meal to end a cold day!

    February 18, 2012

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