I love the classic combination of salmon with lentils. After I discovered the Autumn Mix* blend that consists of “five” different lentils (moong dal (yellow); massor dal (red); French du puy (green); crimson (dark brown with red/pink lentil inside) and black beluga (looks like caviar), I started to use this “blend of five” for one of my salmon dishes, which I call “Salmon for Five at Five.” I bake the fillets in the oven for 5 minutes at 500 degrees. Personally, I like salmon cooked very rare. This blend of lentils offers a mild, earthy flavor and soft texture. For this particular dish, I also use dal masala*, an Indian spice blend that is typically used for lentil dishes and soups.
*Both are available at Indian/specialty markets or at Kalustyan’s, 123 Lexington Avenue, NY (www.kalustyans.com)
- 2 cups Autumn Mix lentil blend, rinsed and picked over
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon of dal masala
- Kosher salt, to taste
- SALMON AND CHIVE OIL
- Six 4-ounce salmon fillets with skin on, about 1 inch thick
- Â½ stick of unsalted butter
- One bunch of chives, finely chopped â about Â¾ cup
- Â½ cup canola or grape seed oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees
- 2. Make the lentils. In a medium saucepan, fry onion until softened slightly, then add garlic and continue to fry until golden. Stir in dal masala until fragrant. Add lentils and enough water to cover the lentils at least 2-3 inches. Bring to a boil then simmer over moderate heat for 25-30 minutes. Stir in kosher salt to taste and cook until the lentils are softened but still slightly firm, 5 to 8 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- 2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and rub a light coating of butter on foil. Arrange the fillets flesh side down on the foil covered baking sheet. Dab several pea-size pieces of butter on each filletâs skin side. Allow salmon to reach room temperature before placing in the oven. Meanwhile, prepare chive oil. Put chopped chives in a mini food processor and, while motor is running, drizzle in oil slowly until fully emulsified. Add salt to taste, and process more to blend in. Set aside.
- 3. Put salmon in oven for five minutes (for rare salmon). Adjust time accordingly if a more well done piece of fish is preferred. Remove salmon from oven and let rest for 1-2 minutes. Remove skin. This will peel off easily without any effort. Turn salmon around to serve it flesh side up.
- 4. Arrange a bed of lentils on each plate. Place a salmon fillet on top and drizzle with the chive oil. Serve with lemon wedges, if preferred.