This dish is a healthy, fast, flavorful, and complete meal on a single plate. If you're only cooking for two, go ahead and make the full portion of lentils. You can eat the lentils as a side the next day or even eat the same dish two days in a row. Just sear up some new salmon and warm up the lentils.
  french green lentils 1/2 lb
lentilles du Puy
  olive oil 1/4 cup
plus extra for salmon
 yellow onion2 cups
 leek2 cups
chopped, white and light green parts only
 thyme1 tsp
  salt2 tsp
  black pepper 3/4 tsp
freshly ground
 garlic1 tbsp
 celery1 1/2 cups
chopped, about 4 stalks
 carrot1 1/2 cups
chopped, about 3 carrots
 chicken stock1 1/2 cups
preferably home made
 tomato paste2 tbsp
 red wine vinegar2 tbsp
 salmon4 pieces
about 8 ounces each, center cut, skin removed


heat-proof bowl
stainless sauté pan
stainless skillet
Place the lentils in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes, then drain.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the drained lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add the vinegar and season to taste.
For the salmon, preheat the oven to 450°F. Also preheat a dry, oven-proof sauté pan over high heat for 4 minutes.
Rub both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil and season the tops very liberally with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, place the salmon fillets seasoned side down in the pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook until very browned, about 2 minutes. Be sure not to move them while they cook.
Flip the fillets and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked rare. Spoon a mound of lentils on each plate and place a salmon fillet on top. Serve hot.

Barefoot Contessa