Salmon with French Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter

This may need to become a gold standard dinner party dish. (I really need to have more dinner parties!!) It was healthy (maybe?), elegant, and absolutely delicious. We ate it for Easter dinner this year- the salmon was very flavorful and everyone was begging for more lentils. What a great crowd! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Gourmet, contributed by Shelley Wiseman, via Epicurious.com. I increased the amount of leeks. We ate it with Asparagus and Fava Beans with Toasted Almonds. Wonderful!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Mustard-Herb Butter:

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
  • 3 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

For the Lentils:

  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 medium to large leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Salmon:

  • 6 (6-ounce) pieces skinless salmon fillet (I portioned a 2-ish pound salmon fillet)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Make mustard-herb butter:

  1. Stir together all ingredients with heaping 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Cook the lentils:

  1. Bring lentils, water, and 1 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid, then drain lentils.
  3. While lentils cook, chop leeks, then wash and drain. Cook leeks in butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add lentils with reserved cooking liquid to leeks along with scant 5 tablespoons mustard-herb butter and cook, stirring, until lentils are heated through and butter is melted.
  5. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.

Sauté salmon while leeks cook:

  1. Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper (total).
  2. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté salmon, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
  3. Serve salmon, topped with remaining mustard-herb butter, over lentils. (I placed the mustard-herb butter over the warm fish on the plates prior to serving.)

Notes:

  • Mustard-herb butter can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Soften at room temperature before using (1 hour).
  • Lentils can be cooked (but not drained) 1 day ahead and chilled in cooking liquid, covered (once cool).

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