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