Salmon with Lentils and Mustard-Herb Butter

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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
Serves: 4


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

For lentils:

  • 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

For salmon:

  • 4 (6-ounce) pieces skinless salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Stir together all the ingredients for the mustard-herb butter with 1/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and pepper.
  2. 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.
  3. While lentils cook, wash and chop leeks.
  4. Cook leeks in butter in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.
  7. While leeks are cooking, pat salmon dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  8. 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)
  9. 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.