This dish is relatively simple with a minimal amount of prep involved.. The fresh tarragon in the mustard-herb butter is what makes this dish so good. Lentils are a fantastic addition to your regular diet. They are filling, highly nutritious, and relatively quick to cook. They are easier to digest than beans and don’t require pre-soaking. Lentils are a great source of fiber, folate, and iron; plus they have one of the richest protein profiles of any vegetable. And they’re cheap!
If you’re not a fish eater, the lentils alone make a great side dish.
Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
For mustard-herb butter:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
- 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 4 cups water
- 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 (6-ounce) pieces skinless salmon fillet
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Stir together all the ingredients for the mustard-herb butter with 1/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and pepper.
- Bring lentils and water to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid, then drain lentils.
- While lentils cook, wash and chop leeks.
- Cook leeks in butter in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add lentils with reserved cooking liquid to leeks along with 3 tablespoons mustard-herb butter and cook, stirring, until lentils are heated through and butter is melted.
- Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.
- While leeks are cooking, pat salmon dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté salmon, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes total. (An alternative to sautéing your salmon is to roast it with a little olive oil on a baking sheet in a 450 degree oven for about 14 minutes – depending on the thickness of the salmon)
- Serve salmon, topped with remaining mustard-herb butter, over lentils.
Note: Mustard-herb butter can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Soften at room temperature before using.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine.