A healthy food item that always seems to be a luxury is salmon. Whether it’s lox on my bagel with cream cheese for brunch or baked and served with delicious sides for a fuss-free dinner entree, I feel as though I am being treated to a luxurious meal.
So when I first made Barefoot Contessa’s Panko Salmon with French Lentils, I was quite impressed. With the panko holding in the flavorful moisture, the searing adding that ideal amount of crunch and the lentils contributing a smooth rich flavor that pairs wonderfully with the fish, this recipe quickly moved to the front of my recipe notebook.
Now I have added my own simply luxurious tweaks and additions to add a little silky flavor to the lentils and the topping of the salmon, but
Key Things To Keep In Mind:
- The listed amount of Dijon mustard below was too much for my taste buds, so I ended up mixing it with equal parts of mayonnaise. This mellowed out the Dijon, but still retained the moist, rich flavor.
- A quick and simple meal that at first glance looks deceptively tricky.
Panko Salmon & French Lentils
- 1 shallot finely diced (an onion can work as a substitute)
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 carrots peeled and cut into 1/2" diced pieces
- 1 cup French green Le Puy lentils (standard lentils work well in a pinch)
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp creme fraiche
- 1-3 Tbsp TSLL's homemade vinagriette (4 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar with a touch of freshly ground pepper)
- fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley finely minced
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 2" wide salmon servings with skin on approximately 1/2-2/3 of a salmon fillet
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup highly quality mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (canola oil will also work)
- fleur de sel & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place the chopped shallot to a warm skillet with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil until nearly transparent.
- Add 4 cups of water to this skillet with the shallot. Bring to a boil.
- Add carrots, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. (If necessary, drain the lentil mixture). Add the vinaigrette, dijon mustard and creme fraiche while the lentils are still warm (but the heat turned off). Stir to combine. Serve warm.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix together the panko, parsley, and lemon zest. Add the olive oil and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated. Set aside.
- Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on a board. Generously brush the top of the fillets with mustard and mayo mixture (about 1 heaping teaspoon) and then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard/mayo on each salmon fillet. The mustard and mayo will help the panko adhere.
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet or large, heavy, ovenproof pan. When the oil is hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and sear for 3 to 4 minutes, without turning, to brown the skin.
- Transfer the pan to the hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is almost cooked and the panko is browned. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve the salmon warm, over a bed of French lentils. Garnish with lemon wedges.