Salmon has to be the week night cook’s best friend. It’s fast, it can undergo many disguises and it’s good for you. It’s important, however, to buy wild-caught salmon and avoid farm-raised fish. Farm-raised salmon, like all farm-raised fish, negativey impact the environment in numerous ways – pollution, chemicals, parasites and non-native farmed fish that escape from salmon farms–all affect the natural habitat and the native salmon in the surrounding waters. Now I realize there’s a price difference and last time I looked at Fairway it was a sizeable one. But use your conscience as well as your calculator.
1⁄4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for salmon
1 large chopped yellow onion
4 leeks, chopped, white and light green parts only
Sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tsp. kosher salt
3⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
4 stocks of celery, chopped into ¼ inch dice
6 carrots, chopped in ¼ inch dice
1 1⁄2 cups Chicken Stock or broth
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. good red wine vinegar
4 (6-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets, skin removed
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
3. Add the drained lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove cover and continue cooking until the lentils are tender
Add the vinegar and season, to taste.
4 For the salmon, heat a dry oven-proof saute pan over high heat for 4 minutes.
5 Meanwhile, rub both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil and season the tops very liberally with salt and pepper.
6 When the pan is very hot, place the salmon fillets seasoning-sides down in the pan and cook over medium heat without moving them for 2 minutes, until very browned. Turn the fillets and continue cooking for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked rare.
7 Spoon a mound of lentils on each plate and place a salmon fillet on top. Serve hot. Serves 4.
Even when there are just the two of us, I make the whole lentil recipe. It’s a delightful side dish served with pork, for example.