Roasted Salmon with Lentil Salad

a plate of food on a table

photo by Jessica Leibowitz

French lentils are tiny green lentils that cook in no time and have a wonderful texture and flavor but if you can’t find them go ahead and use plain old green lentils. If you don’t eat pork you can just leave out the pancetta or you can add some julienned smoked salmon to the lentils with the vinegar and mustard.

Makes 4 servings
Hands on time: 20 minutes
Total preparation time: 40 minutes

1 cup green lentils, preferably lentilles de Puy (small French lentils)
Kosher salt
2 ounces pancetta or bacon
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
four 6-ounce pieces center-cut salmon fillet, skin removed
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 to 4 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, parsley, tarragon or basil

Place the lentils in a large saucepan and pour in enough cold water to cover by 3 inches. Add ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.

While the lentils are cooking, preheat the oven to 400 º F and finely chop the pancetta (about 1 cup – it’s easier to chop if you pop the pancetta in the freezer for 15 minutes first). Heat a small skillet over medium heat until hot, add the pancetta and cook, stirring often, about 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. While the pancetta is cooking finely chop the onion (about ½ cup) and mince the garlic (about 1 teaspoon). Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Arrange the salmon in one layer in a shallow roasting pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes or until barely cooked through.

Drain the lentils well and return to the saucepan. Add the vinegar and mustard. Stir in the pancetta, the cooked onion mixture, the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of the chicken stock. Stir well and add more stock if necessary to make a moist lentil mixture. Stir in the herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Serve each portion of the salmon with some of the lentil salad.


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