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.