Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saumon aux lentilles with mustard-herb butter and roasted butternut squash

 As it is so marvelously healthy, I'm always looking for new things to do with salmon. This quick little French dish has been on my list for quite a while. Such a while, in fact, that the chives I originally bought to make it had turned to slime while neglected in the back of the fridge (merde!) and I had to use scallions.

Lentils are an ingredient I'm trying to use more frequently. Legumes in general, really. These cute little green French lentils have great texture and cook in just half an hour.

I made a few small modifications, mainly to reduce the butter (and there was still was plenty, in my opinion) and substituting olive oil to cook the leeks and fish. And because my crazy only allows me to serve meals composed of odd numbers, I popped some butternut squash in the oven to roast with a simple maple glaze. The flavors combined really nicely with the mustard-herb butter. Deelish.

~ 1-2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
~ 1 tbsp real maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup French lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 medium leek, white and pale green diced and thoroughly washed
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 heaping tbsp scallions, minced (or non-slimy chives)
pinch of dried tarragon, crumbled (be careful, tarragon is potent stuff)
1 tsp whole-grain mustard
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 fillets salmon, rinsed and patted dry

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine your squash, maple syrup, and garlic with a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of kosher salt, and few grinds of fresh black pepper. Mix thoroughly and transfer to a baking vessel, covering tightly with foil. Pop it into the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. When that goes off, uncover the squash and let it cook another 20 minutes or until tender and browned in places.

In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Season with kosher salt and reduce to a simmer, letting the lentils cook uncovered for about half an hour, or until just tender. You should have very little liquid left, so just turn off the heat and let them sit for a few minutes. But if for some reason it looks like a lot of liquid left, reserve just 1/4 cup, drain the rest and pour the 1/4 cup back into the pot with the lentils.

While that's happening, saute the leeks in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat in a drizzle of olive oil until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add them to the pot with the lentils.

Combine the butter, scallions, tarragon, mustard, and lemon juice for the herb butter, just mushing it all together with a spoon. After the lentils have rested and you've mixed in the leeks, add half of the herb butter and the teaspoon of lemon juice, stirring through so the butter melts. Mmm. Taste to see if it needs salt or pepper, adjust if necessary, cover and set aside.

By now your squash is probably almost done, so put the pan in which you cooked the leeks back on the heat with another drizzle of olive oil. Season the salmon on both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes per side or until just medium, refraining from turning your salmon into cat food. Plate up on a bed of lentils with your lovely fragrant butternut squash (not pictured, because while delicious, it was not attractive). Squeeze a little more fresh lemon juice over everything and top each fillet with a nice pat of mustard-herb butter. Yeya! Bon appetit y'all!

Serves 2, takes an hour.


  1. Woow! Looks exquisite and I bet it taste delicious!

  2. Yes it was! Rich but not heavy at all, just how I like my French food.