New Year: Salmon on Lentils
Italians eat lentils on New Year's Day to bring them luck and prosperity. Since I have always liked this tradition, and since I pretend to be an Italian most days and I love lentils, this was our New Year's Day dinner. A healthy way to start off the new year.
This is Ina's recipe, but I usually omit the celery, I don't feel it helps the dish any. I also usually cut the recipe in half, since I make it just for the 2 of us.
This is a simple healthy dish and I make it all year long.
Salmon on Lentils
(adapted from Barefoot in Paris):
1/2 pound French green lentils (lentilles du Puy)
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for salmon
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 leeks, chopped (white and light green parts only)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (I use dried thyme in the winter)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 celery stalks, chopped (I skip it)
2 carrots, chopped
1 1/2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock, recipe follows, or good canned broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar (makes the dish sing)
4 (8-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets
It makes it easier if your fish monger removes the skin, but if he doesn't just work around it (like I did).
Season the salmon filets w/ olive oil, kosher salt & pepper. Set aside.
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 425F.
For the salmon, heat a dry oven-proof saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes. When the pan is very hot, place the salmon filets seasoned sides down in the pan and cook over medium heat without moving them for 3 minutes, until very browned.
Turn the filets with a metal fish spatula and place the pan in the oven for 7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked thru (you may want another minute or two). Spoon a mound of lentils on each plate and place a salmon fillet on top. Serve hot and enjoy!
Happy & Healthy! xo