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

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Julia said…
Stacey,happy new year!
Thanks for delicious and healthy recipe!
Ciao Chow Linda said…
You are an honorary
Italian so it's only fitting that you started the new year appropriately. I will take your cue and prepare this healthy, delicious meal to get off on the right foot.
Foodiewife said…
I've made this recipe before, and it's hearty and delicious. I only cook my salmon Ina's way, from now on. Happy New Year!
Joanne said…
I totally ate lentils yesterday and my dad totally cringed when I told you can have his Italian identity. He's obviously not using it to it's fullest potential. This sounds like a great dish!
Claudia said…
I love lentils but polished off the cannoli for good luck. However, lentils are coming... thanks for reminding me of this recipe.
I need to stock up on salmon I just ate my last lemon bar, the end.....
I just took some salmon out of the freezer....going to make today! I love lentils
Mollie said…
I have never cooked salmon that way, but I am going to try it! I love lentils.
Barry said…
This summer a friend and I ate at Tendrils, the cafe associated with Cave B located on the Columbia River in eastern Washington.

We asked the chef to "make a meal he would want to enjoy" and he did. One of the dishes was a pan seared salmon that had a cumin crust. I know! Cumin?

Since then I've prepared my version of this dish several times to perfect a recipe I could recommend. I guess I need to go back to the restaurant and steak his!

Meanwhile - Stacey, this recipe goes into my "Gotta make it" file. Thanks
Hi Stacey! I made this last night for me and my husband. It was fantastic! Thanks for sharing your take on one of Ina's delicious recipes! Yesterday was my first day back to work after being off for over a week, and my brain really needed the omega 3's and healthy fat to get going!