Braised Lentils, Seared Salmon, Natural Pan Jus

Total Time
55mins
Prep 25 mins
Cook 30 mins

This was a demonstration recipe at Charlotte Anne Albertson's Cooking School (Wynnewood, PA), Jan 19, 2006. The chef was Sean Burns, executive chef (days) from Davio's in Philadelphia. The combination of sweetness of the lentils, slight bitterness of the frisee, and moistness and warmth of the salmon provide a variety of tastes and textures. It's a quick and simple, one pan, stovetop braised meal; yet it's elegant enough for company. To make this a kosher dish, use a vegetable broth instead of the red wine veal broth and use kosher red wine. Because of the butter, this will be dairy -- substituting margarine will make the dish parve, but the loss of flavor is significant. If you do substitute a parve margarine, you can use a meat broth and make this a fleishike (meat) dish.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Ideally, start with a head-on, whole gutted fish (freshest) -- remove the filets from the spine and ribs, then using pliers, remove the pin bones; alternately, start with two very fresh filets.
  2. Note: prep time listed below is starting with salmon filets -- if you filet your own fish, add 10 min (experienced).
  3. Cut the filets crosswise into 1 inch wide slices, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add enough olive oil to coat the pan, heat the saute pan on High (until oil is smoking), then add the seasoned salmon, flesh side down to color and create a little crust, BUT remove while still rare (cook for 2-3 min) and let rest.
  5. Wipe the oil out of the pan; add enough fresh olive oil to coat the pan (2-3 Tbs) and add the butter.
  6. Pu the heat under the pan to medium and once the oil & butter mix is hot, add the diced mirepoix (carrot, parsnip, celery, leek), cook until translucent (7-10 min). At this poiint, season with salt & pepper.
  7. Add the lentils to the vegetables. Add water to about 1 inch above the lentil/vegetable mix.
  8. NOTE: DO NOT add salt at this point -- it will harden the skin of the lentils!
  9. As the water softens the lentils, add the veal stock (if you don't have red wine veal stock, can use veal stock, chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water), then the herbs (thyme, rosemary).
  10. Lentils should be tender in 10-12 minutes (this will vary with your stove and pan, so taste until they are "al dente").
  11. Remove the lentils with a slotted spoon, then add the frisee and toss in the pan jus.
  12. To serve, plate the frisee in the center of the plate, put 2-3 pieces of salmon on top, then surround the frisee with the lentils; pour any remaining pan jus over the lentils.
  13. Can be served warm for an entree or room temperature as a salad.