Monday, August 16, 2010

Pan Seared Salmon With French Green Lentils

How was everyone's weekend? Our weekend was pretty eventful, despite the heat. We went to one of our favorite Cuban restaurants, Havana Rumba. Sad to say, we didn't have a very pleasant experience. It's always busy, so we expected a wait. So we waited... and waited... and finally, after seeing couples and groups have their buzzer go off before us, when they came well after us... Andy decided to check on the status of when we would get seated. Come to find out, we were mistakenly skipped. (insert big sigh here)... So they seat us right away. Well, then we order and Andy always gets the "Vaca Fritas"... everyone knows what vaca fritas are right? Well, it's shredded beef that's flash fried with onions and peppers. What comes to the table? A marinated steak. NOT vaca fritas. Does Andy send it back? No, because we weren't about to cause a scene. We're not THOSE people. But sorry Havana Rumba... we probably won't be visiting again for quite some time.

Has anyone ever had any experiences like that? You've ALWAYS had consistent service at a place, and loved everything about them, until one night of service and/or food just ruins it all? It's just a bummer, that's all. We've been on a string of Friday nights where we've gone to some of our favorite places and they've just failed to deliver. Or maybe our palates have just grown too snobby to like what we once did? We're the ones that have changed, not the restaurants. Maybe? For right now, I'll leave that decision at a draw. It could be a little bit of both.

Now on to today's recipe, which is so simple, yet so flavorful. And yes, this was my first time ever cooking with lentils. I can't believe I've never used them before!

Adapted from Korean American Mommy's Blog

1 cup French green lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for rubbing salmon
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 8 oz. salmon fillets, skin on

In a medium heat proof bowl, add the lentils and cover with boiling water. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add onions, leeks, thyme, salt, and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes, or until onions start to soften.

Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute or two. Add celery, carrots, chicken stock, lentils, and tomato paste. Stir until tomato paste is well incorporated and cover. Stirring occasionally, simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Slowly stir in the vinegar until you reach the desired taste. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Heat a large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Rub both sides of salmon fillet with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If you want a crispier skin of the salmon, make about 2-3 diagonal scores on the skin before you add it to skillet. This will create less surface area to heat and allow for the skin to crisp up faster.

Place salmon fillets, skin side down, in the skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until skin is browned. Carefully flip each fillet over and transfer skillet to oven for about 5 minutes, or until pink throughout. (I'd never cooked salmon this way either, I usually just use that method for steaks, but was pleasantly surprised that the salmon came out PERFECT doing this)

Serve the salmon over a mound of the lentil mixture and dig in!

I definitely loved this recipe. It came together in no time, and was definitely light and filling. Enjoy!


  1. Lentils are always a great ingredient to use that goes well with so many things. I love how you used it with the salmon. Don't give up on your favorite restaurants just because of one bad experience, at least wait until the second one, that's my motto :D

  2. awww sweet! So glad you enjoyed it. Wasn't it easy and delicious. And lentils are so tasty and healthy. I'm going to link this on my facebook page.

  3. I just met you on Foodbuzz and wanted to check out your blog. Congrats on your engagement! Planning a wedding is lots of fun, as long as you don't let the stress get to you! Nice to meet you, and I will be back!

  4. I was drooling when this popped up on looks so good! I'm sorry about the sucky restaurant experience (I hate when that disappointing!).

  5. Oh my gosh - I love salmon and lentils... I _must_ try this recipe! :)

  6. salmon is one of my faves, good idea pairing it with the lentils!

    We were skipped once at a restaurant, and my poor sister in law was pregnant at the time! Fortunately they gave us a gift card to use at a later date. Sorry you had such a lousy experience!

  7. Oh wow. This just looks incredible! I just love lentils and now have another excuse to experiment with them :) Thank you