Saturday, May 24, 2008

Salmon with Lentils/Variants

This is a fantastically good recipe that that I found in Gourmet. The only catch about it is that it uses lentils, which could be ok if you're on a low-carb diet (in moderation), but it's definitely not induction friendly, because you will use up all your carbs in one meal! So I'm giving you my version of the original recipe, but also some suggestions for making it lower carb if desired.

You will need:
1 cup lentils (French green are suggested, but any lentils are really ok)
4 cups water
about 8 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon (must be fresh)
2 leeks
4 salmon fillets, about 6 oz. each

Put the lentils, water, and about 1 tsp. salt in a medium saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until just tender. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and drain.

While the lentils are cooking, make herb butter. Use 5 T. butter, softened, the mustard, the chives, the tarragon, and the lemon juice. Set aside. Then finely chop the lentils (white and pale green parts only) and rinse to remove any dirt. Sauté the leeks in 1 T. butter until soft.

Add the lentils to the leeks, and add about 3 T of the herb butter. Taste; add salt, freshly-ground pepper, and more lemon juice as needed.

In a nonstick pan, melt the remaining (plain) butter. Pan-fry the salmon, turning once, 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. (Don't overcook. Overcooked salmon is dry and not so great.) Spread with remaining herb butter, and serve (with the lentils).

Serves 4; takes about 35 minutes if you are efficient!

  • For more or fewer people: Lentils require about 1/4 cup (uncooked) per person, and about 1 cup water for each 1/4 cup of lentils. Thus you can easily cook more or less; just add a little extra to the herb butter for more.
  • To reduce carbs: Skip the lentils. Use green beans instead, but reduce the mustard by 1/2, or omit it completely. (Steam the green beans, which should probably be sliced, and then add to the lentil mix.) Summer savory is a nice substitute for the tarragon if you're using green beans.
  • Different herb butters: The taste of this dish really depends on what's in the herb butter. As written, it's lemony and mustardy... but if you omit the mustard, you get just lemony, with that anise taste of tarragon. Or try a completely different combination... for example, omit the tarragon and mustard and add a little curry powder (not too much!). Or keep the tarragon, omit the mustard, and add a little chipotle chili powder or some finely diced jalapenos. Totally different dish.
Carbs: about 20 (net) with lentils, trace without (or depends on what vegetables you choose). Wheat-free, gluten-free

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