Roasted wild salmon over lentils. Photograph by Liza Schoenfein.
I’m always aware that the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is a high-calorie danger zone, so I tend to be fairly mindful. I just realized that I’m usually less conscious — and therefore less careful — between Purim and Passover. But here we are, sandwiched between the bookends of boozy parties and heavy holiday dinners. This year, I intend to lighten it up so that I don’t head into the warmer months feeling like I need to wear a muumuu.
This recipe takes little more than half an hour start to finish. It can easily be doubled (or reduced) depending on the number of people you’re serving. For a fancier dinner I like to roast individual pieces of salmon so everyone gets a neat presentation. For a more casual meal, I serve family style, mounding the lentils on a platter and placing one big fillet on top.
Roasted Wild Salmon Over Lentils
For the lentils
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup lentils de puy or other small dark-green lentils
2 cups red wine
2 cup water
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salmon
2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
4 6-ounce wild salmon fillets
Salt and pepper
1) Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
2) In a deep pan, cook shallot in olive oil until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the lentils and stir, coating in the oil. Add wine and water and simmer over low heat for about 25 minutes, until lentils are tender but not mushy. (Cooking time varies wildly with lentils — they could take anywhere from 20-40 minutes, so check them periodically.) Add additional wine or water if liquid evaporates before lentils are cooked. When they’re almost done, add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning.
3) Place butter and 2 teaspoons of the oil in a baking dish large enough to hold the fillets, and place in preheated oven for about 5 minutes, until butter is melted and slightly golden but not smoking. Meanwhile brush salmon with tablespoon of remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully remove baking dish from oven, place salmon in dish, and roast it until done, 8-11 minutes, depending how you like it.
4) To serve, divide lentils among plates. Top with salmon. To garnish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and/or drizzle with a few drops of very good balsamic vinegar and/or top with a dollop of crème frâiche.
Liza Schoenfein is food editor of the Forward. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @LifeDeathDinner. This recipe first appeared on her personal blog, Life, Death & Dinner.