Friday, February 25, 2011

Salmon with Spiced Lentils

I am a big fan of  Williams-Sonoma, especially their cookbooks and have a number of them.  Several years ago, a friend gave me the W-S "Seasonal Favorites (the best of Autumn and Winter)" for my birthday.  It's a small book packed with top notch recipes and we've enjoyed every one that I've made.

The Crispy Salmon with Spiced Lentils is always a hit.  It's delicious and, when there's just the two of us, provides some extra salmon for a salad or pasta the next day.  The spicy lentils give us another meal or two on their own.  So, whether there will be six or two at your table, I'm sure you're going to like this recipe.

I've changed the recipe a bit.  We live in an area where fresh tomatoes are only available in the summer so I've substituted canned tomatoes for fresh  This means cooking the sauce a little longer.  I've also used chicken stock instead of clam juice.  The original recipe calls for lentils.  We like the French green lentils.  Other changes are noted in the recipe.  I follow the recipe (sans cilantro) in the summer.  Either way, it is always greeted enthusiastically by diners.

Crispy Salmon with Spiced Lentils inspired by Williams-Sonoma's "Seasonal Favorites" 

1 1/2 cups lentils (I used green French lentils)
8 whole cloves
1 small yellow onion
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (I used a 14-ounce can of diced  tomatoes, undrained)
1 1/2 cups clam juice (I used chicken stock)
1 1/2 tsp each ground cumin and ground ginger
3/4 tsp each ground turmeric and sweet paprika
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (I used a bit less)
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (I left out because Andrew doesn't like it)
Fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

6 salmon filetts, about 5 oz and 3/4 to one inch thick.  
(Since there were only two of us, I did three and used the extra one for a salad the next day.)

1.  Pick over lentils, rinse and place in a large saucepan.  Add water to cover by two inches.  Stick cloves into the yellow onion and add along with the bay leaves.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 15-20 minutes.  Drain and discard the onion and bay leaves.  Set aside.
2.  In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm one tbsp of the oil.  Add the red onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, tomatoes, clam juice (or chicken stock), and all the spices.  Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft, about 3 minutes.  NOTE:  Because I used the canned tomatoes and their juices, I cooked this down a bit until reduced by about a third.  Add the parsley, cilantro (if using), and lentils and cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, or until most of the tomato juice is reduced and absorbed.  Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Keep warm.
3.  Preheat a ridged pan or a cast iron skillet (I don't have a ridged pan) over high heat until "screaming" hot--about ten minutes.  Brush the salmon with the remaining oil and place on the pan.  Cook until golden and crisp on one side, 4-5 minutes.  Turn over and sprinkle with salt and pepper and continue to cook until opaque throughout, 3-4 minutes longer.  
4.  Heap some of the lentils onto a plate, top with the salmon and serve immediately.



  1. What a wonderful recipe..I love WS too.....I got only a book "cakes" (fantastic).... and attended a class in San Francisco.... next time I'm going to buy all WS library...ahahahahah....have a GREAT weekend, hugs, Flavia

  2. Looks wonderful, I like that you posted all of your changes! I tend to work a recipe to death sometimes.

  3. I love this recipe! Never thought of combining salmon and lentils. Sounds like a protein high! I have salmon in the freezer, lentils in the pantry (just the regular kind) and, since good tomatoes are a way off, I'll be following your canned advice. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Mmmmmmm... Even at this early hour,I could eat that salmon! lol. The lentils would be good even by themselves!

  5. You know, I might actually make this tonight! It looks delicious!

  6. beautiful photo, you do such a super job of photographing your food. it takes talent

  7. Great picture and the meal sounds very different!

  8. I'm going to try these lentils. Very different way for me to eat lentils...they look great.

  9. Sounds delicious, Bonnie... I love both salmon and lentils....

    We only get fresh tomatoes in the summer also ---but hubby love the little cherry tomatoes which he can eat year 'round... HA--the cost of those tomatoes has tripled recently.. A little tiny container at Walmart is about $4 now... Just kills us to may so much for that...


  10. My mouth is watering, I have salmon in the freezer. Think that is what we will have. I dont have lentils but I have cous-cous. Wonder if I can use this? HUM??

    Cook books are great reads.

  11. Oh my, that does look divine! I love W & S too. But Sur la Table is closer to me, so that is the one I usually frequent. I have a coupe of W & S cookbooks, and love them. You know who else has lovely cookbooks? Nordstrom Cafe!! Your dish looks simply wonderful. We are huge salmon fans. I cook it all the time! Have a lovely weekend!

  12. Bonnie,
    What a beautiful dish! And and extra bonus when there is something left over to use up the next day!

  13. You are always making me so hungry. This absolutely looks delicious! I am thinking I am going to have to try this one. Bonnie

  14. I don't own any of their cookbooks but I do love Williams Sonoma! This sounds like a great salmon recipe...I love the lentil addition!

  15. Thanks so much for your visit and comment to my blog! Always nice to have you stop by.

    You know, I was just in a thrift store yesterday and saw some great plates of scenes...on the back was Williams Sonoma! Should have bought them but I didn't. Take care. Susan

  16. I have never seen salmon served with lentils before!! BUT tonight I'm making YOUR salmon and pasta recipe!!! Can't wait!! The first heron I posted, the real blue one, that was taken in Charlottesville at Boar's Head Club. The rainy one was on White Bridge Road going from here to Fishersville at a small pond.

  17. This is a must try! I love salmon. Hope you have a nice weekend. Carla

  18. This is a terrific entree and I definitely will enjoy it. I need some interesting fish recipes right now and this one is spot on. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

  19. Hi Bonnie,

    Could this look any better? Your dish is filled with all of my favorite things. I'm going to make it for dinner this Sunday night. Thanks for sharing the recipe along with your adaptations. Happy weekend!

  20. Looks delicious! And sound nutritious. Best of both worlds.

  21. I wonder if I bought the wrong lentils? I ask because the green lentils I purchased took a really and I mean really long time to soften. Are there different types? I want to try lentils again but I need a little more information.

  22. Oh I love lentils, they are so wonderful! These spiced lentils sound super tasty and could go with almost anything.

  23. I'm not a fan of Salmon, but this recipe makes me keen to try!

  24. This looks so delicious, makes me feel really hungry.

  25. What a great recipe; lentils and salmon! it has to be good. I am keeping this one.

  26. This sounds really delicious and healthy! I love lentils--like you, I especially like the French ones!

  27. mmm...this looks like I would like this recipe. I have never thought to have spicy lentils with Salmon.

  28. I've participated in cooking seminars lately and I tasted this combination. It was so rich in flavor i couldn't believe it. I have to try and make it soon too.

  29. I have been looking for an interesting and delicious way to prepare lentils and I think my search has ended. These here look marvelous!

  30. This dish certainly sings to my tummy strings. I love lentils and the salmon is of course the bonus on our plates.
    Thanks Bonnie for sharing this well rounded group of ingredients ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,


I always enjoy hearing from you, my blogging friends.