Today I’m sharing yet another fabulous French recipe from Ina Garten’s cookbook, Barefoot in Paris. This one is a staple in our house. It is easy, delicious and uses ingredients that are readily available. And in case you didn’t know, salmon, with all its Omega-3 fatty acid is good for you. And your brain.
Make sure to use those French green lentils. They hold their shape, have a nice mouth feel and are much better than the boring brown lentils that become mush if cooked too long.
I always make the full lentil recipe (it serves four), even if we are only two, just so I can use leftovers as the filling for stuffed red
peppers another night. Or soup. Yes, they are THAT tasty!
I also like to add a big dollop of Dijon mustard to the lentils for some extra tangy flavor. And when I’m feeling more adventerous, I like to make a Dijon crusted salmon to carry the theme through. I’ve also left out the leeks when I didn’t have any on hand and it’s still comes out perfect, every time.
My point – this is such a versatile recipe, feel free to fool with it and make it your own. Here is the basic recipe:
Salmon with French Lentils
Place the lentils in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes, then drain.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the drained lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add the vinegar and season, to taste.
Preheat the oven to 450 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.