Friday, January 14, 2011

Sounds so posh... but it's so not!


Saumon aux Lentilles…. Or fish ‘n’ beans by another name… (okay, technically lentils are a pulse but to my family they look and taste like beans). Translation: Salmon with Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter. Whatever you wanna call it, this is one delicious meal. Easy enough for everyday family eatin' but delicious enough to serve when the boss comes over. I'm self-employed so I'm the boss though I guess we could invite Q's boss for dins... but it'll have to be 365 days from now. Sigh.
Found the recipe on epicurious.com, with a four-star rating, and 93% of reviewers said they would make it again. High praise and deservedly so. The combination of the lentils with the salmon was light yet substantial, sweet but tangy. I served it with lightly sauteed Brussels sprouts with shallots and the leftover leeks, for a crunchy, salty side dish.

My only criticism was that the recipe called for way too much butter. I cut back by more than half without any problems and the salmon and lentils would have been drowning in fat if I’d used the full amount. You won’t notice any difference in reducing it. I don't know about you but I prefer not to have a buttery heart attack on a plate.

Speaking of heart attacks, as (bad) luck would have it, later that same night I got a call from my son's hockey coach at the arena, with every mom's nightmare of hearing the dreaded words "paramedics" and "body board" in the same sentence. Heart stood still. Then quick rush to the hospital to meet up with my little big guy, who somehow seems to attract such calamities. As he says, "I just live life to the fullest, Mom!"... aka "I know no risk and have a death wish." Bottom line: concussion but no broken bones or lasting damage. As he pointed out, he was due for something to happen since he's typically in a semi-annual cycle for hospital visits and his last wipeout and ambulance ride had been in the summer. I guess it was our "time" again. But the great thing about Austin is that he bounces back. Each and every time. Lucky for us. He's hoping for a celebratory survival dessert sometime in the near future so I've gotta put my mind to that. Will keep you posted.

The rest of our week looked like this:

January 11 Salmon with Lentils, Sauteed Brussels Sprouts and Leeks
January 12 Chicken Quesadillas and Tossed Salad
January 13 Black Bean and Beef Burritos with Quinoa

So here's the recipe, which provides four servings.



For mustard-herb butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

For lentils
1 cup French green lentils
4 cups water
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 to 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For salmon
4 (6-ounce) pieces skinless salmon fillet
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Make mustard-herb butter: Stir together all ingredients with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. (I reduced all quantities by half and had more than enough.)

Cook lentils: Bring lentils, water, and 3/4 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. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid, then drain lentils. (I used canned lentils so I skipped the boiling part and went directly to the next step.)

While lentils cook, chop leeks, then wash. Cook leeks in butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add lentils with reserved cooking liquid to leeks along with 3 tablespoons mustard-herb butter and cook, stirring, until lentils are heated through and butter is melted. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.

Sauté salmon while leeks cook: Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper (total).

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.
Serve salmon, topped with remaining mustard-herb butter, over lentils.

4 comments:

Jen H said...

This sounds delicious! Will have to go on my list of things to make :)

Gina said...

Just curious, what kind of camera do you/y'all use? Your pics are fantastic.

Jen H said...

Hey Gina - I use a Sony A300 with a Macro Lens, I'm not sure what the other ladies use. I don't know that the camera itself matters as much though, if you can get pics with good natural light any camera will do.

mamashack said...

I use a combonation of cameras - my husband's Pentax with whatever lens happens to be on it at the time, his iphone (the new G4 has THE most amazing camera) or a little canon powershot. More important than the camera is often doing a bit of retouching in a program like photoshop or aperture though. You can often rescue a not so great point and shoot photo in photoshop and make it look pretty decent

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