Thursday, February 12, 2015

Salmon and Spiced Lentils

Do you go out for dinner with your Valentine?  Stay in?  We've opted for staying in for quite awhile.  Rather than getting a reservation, getting dressed up and heading out into the cold, we share the making of a favorite meal and settle in by the fire.  There is usually a romantic old movie on TCM.  This year, though, we may just catch up on episodes of The Americans.

I'm not privvy to what The Baker will be making for dessert.  I have pulled out this favorite recipe because I have two nice pieces of Copper River salmon in the freezer.  I haven't strayed far from the original recipe that I found in one of my favorite Williams-Sonoma cookbooks, Seasonal Favorites.  The spiced lentils could, and have, stood alone for us a number of times.  When paired with the salmon, they create a special entree.  The original recipe is for six.  I, of course, will do two salmon filets.  However, I'll do the whole recipe for the lentils and we'll have leftovers for another day.

Whatever you do on Saturday, I hope you have a wonderful day!

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 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 
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 
Fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

2 salmon filets, 5 to 6 ounces and about 3/4" thick

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, 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 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. The spices in those lentils sound delicious, Bonnie! I am going to put the ingredients on my grocery list for today. ... sadly, I don't think those great Copper River salmon will be available... I'll have to settle for wild caught. ENJOY and happy Valentine's to you both! I look forward to seeing what Andrew cooks up for dessert! blessings ~ tanna

  2. the food photo looks fantastic.. i think i smell it.. in Florida no scheffleras in pots, they grow out doors and grow and grow and grow into 40 foot trees or they can be the size we want them..

  3. Looks like you planned well:)

    Happy Valentine's to you both..
    If we would go out it would be lunch not it is we are all going to one of our daughters' with the whole family..:)

  4. Yum! Just the two of you eating in front of a fire, it doesn't get any better than this! I hope you both have a wonderful day!

  5. The first time I had salmon over lentils was at one of our gourmet gatherings. It was actually served as a small-portion appetizer and was delicious! Your recipe has a lot more spice to it which sounds wonderful. I'd much rather stay at home and have a special meal and open a nice bottle of wine with my husband. BTW, TCM is showing a month of grammy winners so there are lots of nice movies to see.

  6. What a beautiful-looking entree. I love all the color and it looks delicious too. Enjoy your evening by the fire.

  7. Look delicious!! I love salmon and this look georgeous!!!

  8. Beautifully presented salmon on lentils Bonnie. We stay in but to go the day before or a couple of days before. We never go out on Valentines, Mother's Day, pr New Years Eve. Happy Valentine's Day to you and the Baker. And I don't want to leave out Oliver either :)

  9. We always stay in for Valentines Day too. I'm not a "crowd" person, and usually the good restaurants are pretty full. This salmon and lentils would be better than going out though- those spicy lentils look so good! :)

  10. Spiced lentils look like the perfect accompaniment for the salmon, Bonnie! I'm sure the n baker will surprise you with a delicious dessert!
    We are babysitting on Valentine's Day so I'm making surf and turf at home with my grandsons.

  11. The salmon looks delicious, Bonnie! I have some in the freezer, trying to figure out what to do with it. We no longer go out for dinner on any holiday, been there, done that too many times with mediocre food and a large check. So we are having steak at home. Stay warm! The cold and wind is brutal here today. Happy Valentine's Day!

  12. What a nice plan for Valentine's Day. I love the TCM channel. The classics are the best movies.
    I think that is a lovely way to spend the evening. The dinner looks wonderful.
    xo Catherine

  13. love the simplicity of this recipe yet I know it's packed with flavour... the Baker is very lucky!... we don't really go out either although we have just been discussing going out today for lunch instead as we have to go into town for work commitments we may treat ourselves to something special!

  14. Sounds like the perfect Valentine's evening to me. Topped by this healthy delicious meal. Love the lentil recipe...they'd be perfect with so many things.


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