Salmon and lentils is to France what peas and carrots is to the States: an absolutely classic pairing. In this simple, satisfying one-pot dinner that plays off the famous couple, crispy salmon is served in a broth of lentils flavored with caramelized shallots and mustard.
Why this recipe works:
- Using one skillet for the entire recipe allows the caramelized shallots to play double duty, imparting their sweet flavor to both the salmon and the lentils.
- The salmon rests while the canned lentils are quickly cooked with vegetable broth, herbs, and mustard, so that the whole dish is ready without wasting a minute.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
- 4 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Two (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can Puy lentils, drained and rinsed
- 3 sprigs thyme or 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
In a medium nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and browned, about 15 minutes; lower the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set caramelized shallots aside. Wipe out skillet.
Press salmon filets between paper towels to dry surfaces thoroughly. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon in the skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add salmon filets skin side-down. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, pressing gently on back of filets to ensure good contact with skin, until skin is rendered and crisp, about 6 minutes. If skin shows resistance when attempting to lift with a spatula, allow it to continue to cook until it lifts easily. Flip salmon and cook on second side until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120°F for medium rare or 130°F for medium, about 1 minute longer. Transfer salmon to a paper towel-lined plate and allow to rest.
Add lentils, thyme or rosemary, broth, whole grain mustard, and caramelized shallots to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the broth has reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in parsley and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the lentils onto plates, set the salmon on top, drizzle with more olive oil, and serve immediately.