Salmon over Walnut Lentil Salad with Tarragon

2011-12-24201015

Wow! It’s been a month since I last posted. I had a lot of life happen in rapid succession — my new FODMAP diet, another momentarily-worrisome-but-probably-nothing health scare (phew!) and really digging in to my dissertation. (That is, after all, half of this blog’s title.)

No matter. I am back with one of my all-time favorite recipes to share. Not only is it bomb dot com delicious, but it’s also a real crowd pleaser. The lentil salad makes a fantastic potluck dish that is sure to delight vegetarians/vegans and carnivores alike. And this is one of my favorite ways to cook salmon. I did a little combination of two trustworthy chef’s recipes, Carla Hall of Top Chef fame and Mark Bittman, to create something that doesn’t take a ton of time but tastes like it does.

Tarragon gets top billing in these recipes, making them perfect to serve side-by-side. Not to mention the nuttiness of the lentils compliment salmon perfectly. I suggest downing the lentils with the salmon all in one bite!

Salmon & Walnut Lentil Salad with Tarragon

The Main Ingredients:

4 salmon fillets
lemon wedges for garnish

Marinade:

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, pulled and roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

Lentil Salad

1 cup dry brown or green lentils, rinsed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
1 rosemary sprig
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1/4 cup red onion, very finely diced
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped tarragon

Walnut Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup rice or champagne vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp pepper

In a medium bowl, combine all marinade ingredients. Place salmon in marinade and gently toss until thoroughly coated. Place fish in resealable bag in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

In a large pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add lentils, garlic cloves, bay leaf and rosemary sprig. Cook lentils until just tender but still slightly firm, about 30 minutes. Strain in colander.

In plastic bowl or cup with fitted lid, combine all vinaigrette ingredients. Shake until thoroughly mixed and emulsified. Season with pepper.


In a large serving bowl, toss lentils, carrots, celery and red onions together. Stir in enough vinaigrette, about 1/2 cup, to coat lentil mixture. Toss in fresh parsley and tarragon.  
(This saves for up to a week in the fridge.)

After the salmon has been marinating, heat a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over high heat for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the bottom of the skillet with salt, then add the salmon, skin side down.

Cook over high heat until well browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip the salmon and cook for 1 minute longer (more if you like your salmon well done).

Put about 1 cup of lentils in the center of each of 4 serving plates and top with a salmon fillet. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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