I love fish. Whether it’s cod, tuna, tilapia or halibut — you name the fish and I love it. The fish I eat the most is salmon, simply because I can’t get enough of smoked salmon. Whether it’s on a salad, in a sandwich or with a simple drop of lemon juice, there’s something so refreshing, light and delicious about a paper thin slice of the rich pink fish. Especially when it’s seasoned with a hint of dill or just a light sprinkling of sea salt. It’s so delightful!
When I eat a salmon filet, however, I want more than just the fish. I want flavorful, tangy, savory bites, enough to last me through the entire slab of fish. Eating a salmon steak can be extremely monotonous, especially if the fish is overcooked or poorly prepared. My favorite way to prepare salmon is with a grainy mustard and seasoned breadcrumbs, served over sauteed spinach or a bed of hearty lentils.
There’s no fancy trick to cooking fish — it’s probably one of the easiest and quickest proteins to make. In fact, fish is very similar to eggs, as they can be fried, baked, poached, boiled and steamed, and they are often paired with a wide variety of sides. For salmon, I prefer to do a pan fry, as it’s simple and easy, with minimal risk of overcooking the fish. I take my salmon medium rare, with two shades of pink to please my eye.
Salmon Filets with Lentils and Vegetables
1 cup lentils (I prefer green)
3 slices of thick, slab bacon, finely diced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, stems removed
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
Salt to taste
For the Salmon:
2 salmon filets, skin on, bones removed
4 tablespoons stone ground mustard
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and White Pepper to taste
- Place the lentils in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and allow to simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes. Drain the lentils.
- Heat a deep skillet or heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the bacon and render the fat. When bacon has crisped, add the onions, carrots and celery. Stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the drained lentils to the bacon mixture. Stir in the garlic and thyme and saute for 1 minute. Add one cup of water (or chicken stock or wine) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until lentils are soft. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Meanwhile, heat a separate fry pan over medium heat.
- While the pan is heating, pat dry the salmon filets with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper. Spread the mustard over the flesh of the fish (not the skin side) into an even layer. Then press the mustard side into the breadcrumbs to create a thin crust.
- Add oil to the hot pan.
- Place salmon into hot pan, mustard side down, skin side up. Leave un-disturbed in pan for 3-4 minutes, then flip onto skin side. If you want your fish medium rare, it will only need a few more minutes on the skin side. To cook your fish longer, place the pan into a hot oven (450 degrees) and bake.
- Serve fish over lentils.