Friday, June 29, 2012

Salmon with Lentils

I feel as though I must tell you that I am NOT the biggest fan of salmon. If it isn't marinated just right, it tastes WAY too fishy for me. I usually only like it marinated in my beloved Soy Yaki, but a few nights ago my mom made this WONDERFUL salmon with lentils. Of course, the recipe originally came from the Barefoot Contessa, but we felt as though we needed to tweak it a little bit (and she uses far too much salt). The lentils are a much healthier alternative to a potato or rice to serve the salmon on and we added some spinach for color and flavor. You do not need a grill to make this, just a large pan that you don't mind getting a little messy. We bought the salmon at Costco (which is fresh and has the BEST prices) and there was WAY more than enough for 2, and froze the rest to have another night.
***TIP: When freezing fish or meat or chicken, portion everything into saran wrap and small ziplock bags inside one BIG one so it is easier to freeze and you don't have to defrost everything and throw away what you won't use!!!***
As with all of my recipes, this one is very simple and extremely delicious. It tastes, and looks, like it is from a restaurant. Next time you want to seriously impress someone but do very little work, make this salmon! They'll be BEGGING for the recipe!

What you'll need (for 2 people):

4 salmon filets (NO skin)
½ lb lentils
½ cup olive oil
2 cups onions
2 cups leeks (get the frozen kind at your market, make it easy!)
1 tsp. fresh thyme
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup vegetable broth (low sodium!)
2 tbs. tomato paste
2 tbs. red wine vinegar
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt & pepper
1 ½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
Enough fresh spinach for 2 people (about 3 cups)

1.     Preheat your oven to 450*.
2.     In a large pot of water cook lentils (follow the exact directions on the package).
3.     In a large pan, sauté the onions, leeks, thyme, ½ tsp. salt, and pepper for about 10 minutes. Add 1 tsp. of the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
4.     Add the cooked lentils, the carrots, celery, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Cover and cook over LOW for 20 minutes.
5.     While the lentil mixture is cooking, begin the salmon. Heat a cast-iron skillet (or any other oven safe pan) on high for about 5 minutes. Season each side of the salmon with olive oil, and 1 tsp salt and pepper on each side.
6.     After the pan is HOT HOT HOT, sear the salmon for 2 minutes on ONLY ONE SIDE (DO NOT LIFT THEM UP TO CHECK!!! THEY’LL RIP!!!)
7.     Flip the salmon and cook in the oven for about 7 minutes.
8.     At the last minute, sauté the remaining garlic in a large pan over medium heat. After about 10 seconds, add the fresh spinach and cook until wilted down (just a few minutes!). Finish with a tiny squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some salt and pepper.
9.     In a large white bowl (it looks best!), spoon about ½- 1/3 cup the lentil mixture, top with spinach, and finally one salmon filet. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme, and you’re good to go!
enjoy :)

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