North African Spiced Salmon Over French Lentils

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Yield: Servings: 4

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Go to any French bistro, and you’ll likely find a dish of lentils and salmon. It’s a classic for good reason: Lean, mellow lentils complement the richness of the fish. This version includes a Moroccan-inspired spice rub on the salmon. As you eat, flake the salmon into the lentils to better distribute those aromatic spices throughout the dish.

Ingredients

1 cup French lentils (lentils du Puy), rinsed

1/3 cup dried apricots, finely diced

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley; more for serving, if you like

1 Tbs. drained capers

1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Fine sea salt

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

1/8 tsp. ground allspice

1/8 tsp. cayenne

4 6-oz. salmon fillets, skinless or skin on

Lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

In a 4-quart saucepan, bring the lentils and 3 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer, add the apricots, and gently simmer until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 35 to 45 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the lentils, parsley, capers, lemon zest and juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt, and stir to combine. Keep warm over low heat.

Combine the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, allspice, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Pat the spice mix onto the salmon.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in another 12-inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon, flesh side down, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook to your liking, another 2 to 3 minutes for salmon that’s barely opaque in the center. Serve the salmon over the lentils, garnished with more parsley, if you like, and with the lemon wedges.

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