Crusted Salmon with Red Lentils and Herbs Salad Recipe

Crusted Salmon with Red Lentils and Herbs Salad Recipe
Staff Writer

Flickr/Whitney/CC 4.0

Top Chef contestant Nikki Cascone loves salmon especially with lots of vegetables and herbs. Try this recipe for a quick and healthy dinner. 

Click here to see the Mommy-To-Be Eating Q&A with Nikki Cascone.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds, coarsely chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Four 6- to 8-ounce wild Atlantic salmon fillets
  • 2 cups olive oil, plus more for the dressing
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 unpeeled seedless cucumber, preferably English, cut in half lengthwise, then into half moons
  • 1 red onion, sliced paper thin
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 ripe avocado cut into large dice
  • 1 sprig basil, cut into a chiffonade     
  • 1 spring mint, cut into a chiffonade
  • 1 sprig cilantro, cut into a chiffonade

Directions

Cook the lentils according to the package instructions, usually as if you were making pasta, until they are al dente. Rinse immediately under cold water.

Ground pumpkin seeds in a spice grinder with regular paprika and a pinch of salt.  Set aside to dust fish with.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the salmon fillet in the pumpkin seed mixture. Heat a sauté pan with the oil until it is almost smoking. Sear the salmon, skin-side up, for about 2-3 minutes, until it is a golden color, then turn it over and place in the oven. Roast for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, and how you like your salmon cooked. 

While the fish is cooking prepare the salad. In a mixing bowl toss the tomato, cucumber, lentils, red onion, drizzle of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, half a lime, salt and toss. Cut avocado into large dice.  Gently toss in avocado as not to mush it. Add fresh herbs. Put the salad into a serving bowl or plate.

To serve, place the salmon fillet on top and salad. You can also garnish it with the remaining lemon and lime slices. 

Salmon Shopping Tip

A fresh fish should not smell fishy nor have milky, opaque eyes; it should have bright red gills, firm flesh, and a tight anal cavity.

Salmon Cooking Tip

Whole fish should be stored upright in ice in the refrigerator.

Salmon Wine Pairing

Pinot gris/grigio, sauvignon blanc, sémillon, albariño, or rosé with most cooked salmon dishes; pinot noir with salmon in red wine or other strong sauce; grüner veltliner, rosé, or vintage or non-vintage champagne or sparkling wine with smoked salmon.