Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Green Lentils

For some reason, lentils complement salmon very well, some might even say it's a classic combination. And the best thing is, there are health benefits as well: low fat, high protein and of course the famed omega-3 fatty acids from the salmon. Here I have a delicious and simple recipe that would easily find a home in any restaurant.

Let's start with cooking the lentils. It is combined with a lot of the ingredients that The Flavor Bible (my personal culinary guide) states go well with lentils. Here are the ingredients:

1/2 lb. green lentils (washed and soaked for about 15 minutes)
2 carrots (small dice)
4 celery ribs (small dice)
leeks (2-inch portion, julienned)
1/2 onion (small dice)
4 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
3 strips applewood/hickory-smoked bacon (optional if you would like to keep the dish strictly vegetarian)
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
Parsley (chopped fine, for garnish)


First, render out the bacon (rough chopped into small squares) in a deep pan on medium heat. If you are vegetarian, use canola/corn oil. Add the onions and leeks and sweat them until tender and fragrant. Next, add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the rest of the ingredients (carrots, celery and lentils) and cook for another minute, stirring well. Then pour enough broth into the pan, enough to cover the ingredients and bring the heat down to a simmer. We are now cooking the lentils until they become tender. That process should usually take between 20-25 minutes. As the level of the liquid reduces while it is cooking, add more broth as needed. Also, stir and mix the ingredient in the pot every few minutes.
While the lentils are cooking, let's cook the salmon (skin removed). I usually use 4oz. portions per serving. Get a pan heating with some vegetable oil. Season the fish with salt and pepper and start cooking with the flesh side down. As that sides browns, turn it over and cook the other side. Sometimes, if the salmon is too thick, it may not cook all the way in the pan (you may burn the outside before it is cooked). This is when you need to transfer it into your oven (375°F) and finish cooking it there.

Now, it is time to start plating. Scoop up a ladle of lentils and place them in the middle of the plate and garnish with some parsley. Place the salmon on the bed of lentils and garnish around the plate with more parsley. Squeeze a little lemon juice onto the fish and you are done. Simple, no? Enjoy!

No comments: